How To Talk to Your Elderly Parents About Estate Planning
You might feel uncomfortable talking to your elderly parents about estate planning, but it is necessary. Our estate planning lawyers can help you.
Having a discussion about estate planning with elderly parents can feel delicate. However, it's important to have this conversation before it's too late. Otherwise, not having a plan could cause stress and complications in the future.
Here are six tips that can help when talking about estate planning with your aging parents. Using these tips can help you get the ball rolling.
Then, you can consult an estate planning lawyer to ensure your parents feel prepared.
Read on to discover the steps you need to follow when discussing estate planning today.
1. Include Other Siblings
Discussing estate planning can feel intimidating. You don't always have to begin this process alone. If you have siblings, ask them to join you.
Bringing your siblings into the conversation can help maintain the appearance of fairness. It's important to have a frank, open conversation as a family. You can prevent fights between siblings if you don't have to consider what your elderly parents "might" have wanted.
Instead, you can avoid distrust among siblings by involving the entire family in the conversation.
Your aging parents also won't have to worry that their children will fight over the estate after they pass on. Instead, take the time to schedule a family meeting. Start talking about estate planning as a unit.
If you wait until after your parents pass to have this conversation, it could lead to litigation. Estates could get litigated over the smallest details.
You can avoid a lot of stress down the road by getting your siblings involved from the very beginning.
2. Know How to Approach the Subject
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is waiting until the last minute to start discussing estate planning. Initiate the conversation as early as possible.
Consider finding a moment when your aging parents are happy and comfortable.
Try to bring up the subject as lightly as possible. For example, you might want to bring up a loved one who recently passed on. You could mention some of the challenges the family experienced as a result.
You can also mention that you might have to make these decisions for them in the future. Let your aging parents know you would rather hear what they'd prefer.
3. Understand Why Time is of the Essence
Timing is everything. Before talking to your elderly parents about estate planning, consider the timing.
Don't wait until there's a life-changing event, such as changes to tax laws or new birth in the family. Estate planning doesn't solely involve planning for assets after your parents pass on. It also includes plans for situations like daily financial decisions or health care.
For example, you might need to consider health care powers of attorney. You might need to determine who will make final health care and financial decisions for a parent.
You'll need to know if you play a role in your family's estate plan as well. They might decide to name you the executor of the estate. In that case, you'll need to know where all the necessary documents are.
4. Determine What They've Done
As your elderly parents if they've already done some estate planning. Then, determine what, if anything, requires updating.
If they haven't started estate planning yet, you'll need to start from scratch. You can use this helpful checklist to get started.
Ask your parents if they already have a plan in place. Ask questions to ensure everyone is on the same page, too. You'll need to know what the documents say and how they'll be administered as well.
- Net-Worth Statement
The net-worth statement can help you gain an overall understanding of your parents' wealth. For example, it can outline potential inheritances. It will also give you peace of mind. You can determine if they have the wealth to cover health care expenses in the future.
- Family Businesses
If your family owns a business, you might want to create a succession plan. Determine who will take over the business when your parents pass on. Determine the capacity and role you might take on, too.
The power of attorney will grant someone the authority to make future financial decisions. Anyone ages 18 or older can receive power of attorney. Remember to mention digital assets if you have any. Make sure you can access their computers, online accounts, or phone after they pass on, too. Otherwise, you might struggle to gain access to specific accounts.
You may want to consider a Health Care Power of attorney as well to cover health care.
For example, what happens if your parents become incapacitated? Determine who will have the authority to make medical decisions on their behalf.
Ask your parents about long-term care, medical care, or life-sustaining treatment concerns they have.
Ask your parents if any child-specific trust rules require updating. For example, they might have established a trust when you were still a minor.
If the trust is no longer relevant, it's likely your parents' concerns for you as a minor have since changed. They might want you to serve as their power of attorney, health care surrogate, trustee, or executor now.
5. Remain Honest
While discussing estate planning with your aging parents, make sure you have an understanding of their goals and concerns. Have an open and honest discussion.
Some parents struggle to treat children "fairly" without understanding what that might mean to their children. For example, some parents focus on financial equality. However, siblings might have more concerns about sentimental value.
6. Consult a Estate Planning Lawyer
Remember, you don't have to work through this process alone. Consider having an estate planning attorney present for these discussions.
There are over 637,000 lawyers across the US. Take the time to find a legal team that specializes in estate planning. Their relevant experience and expertise will give you better insights into the process.
Feel Prepared: 6 Tips for Estate Planning With Elderly Parents
Discussing estate planning with your elderly parents doesn't have to feel as stressful as you might think. Instead, use these tips to begin the conversation. Remember, you might find it more beneficial to have a lawyer present.
Talking about estate planning will ensure you have your parents' wishes in mind after they pass.
Need to begin estate planning for your aging parents? We're happy to help.
Contact Citadel Law Firm today to discuss your estate planning needs. Our estate planning attorneys and Probate lawyers in Chandler will be pleased to help you. Call (480)565-8020 to schedule your free consultation, or click here.
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