Are you concerned that your parents may not have their Estate Plan in place? If so, it is a better time than ever to have “the talk”.
First, children should get their own Estate Planning in order:
Executing their own Will, Health Care Power of Attorney and General Durable Power of Attorney. This will allow you to learn about each Estate Planning instrument and you can refer to your work with the Estate Planning or Elder Law Attorney you work with.
Focus on balancing safety with independence, do not wait until situations occur to begin planning.
A good tip is to ask first if your parents have executed a Health Care Proxy and General Durable Power of Attorney, instead of first questioning if they have done a Will. This will avoid an immediate impression of greediness on your part and provide a more delicate approach to mortality. Focus on the question: Who will make financial and medical decisions for them if they cannot for themselves?
What if my parents say they already have a plan in place?
If your parents already have a plan in place, see if they will let you know where they keep their documents. If you can, ask to review their documents and get the name of their attorney. You may also want to ask where they keep other important documents and things * safety deposit box keys, birth certificates, deeds, insurance policies, tax returns, etc. If they do not have a plan, suggest making an appointment with an Elder Law Attorney.
What should be my next step after the initial conversation?
Finally, assess your parent*s financial situation to determine if your parents have sufficient resources to meet their needs. Long-term Care Insurance may be a possibility if it is affordable and they qualify. If your parents will not discuss these issues with you, then encourage a trusted relative or a friend of your parents to encourage a family dialogue, or suggest they see an Elder Law Attorney to assist them with their Estate Planning and long term planning needs.
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