It can be difficult to watch your parents grow older, and as their child, you want to be sure they have what they need for their golden years. This includes medical care they may need, financial support in case they require long-term care and more. You also want to be sure you can honor their wishes after they pass on or in case of incapacitation.
For all these reasons and more, it is critical to have a discussion about estate planning you’re your aging parents.
The importance of understanding loved ones’ wishes
The estate planning discussion can be a sensitive and complex conversation as it requires you to address matters that will arise after your parents pass. While aging is inevitable and uncontrollable, there are steps your parents can take that will allow them to have control over certain legal and financial matters in the future. Having an estate plan in place and understanding your parents’ wishes can provide both you and them with peace of mind for the future.
Preparing for a sensitive conversation
As discussing estate planning with your parents can be a sensitive and emotional process, you may find it helpful to prepare for the conversation you are about to have. Knowing the right questions to ask can help you understand what plans are in place – and what gaps may exist. Here are some important details you will want to find out about your parent’s estate planning strategy:
- Whether they already have a will, and if they do, whether it is up to date according to their current life circumstances
- The location of any documents they already have in case you need to locate them quickly
- Whether they have health care directives drafted, and if they do, whether they are comprehensive and accurate
The details of your parents’ estate plan will depend on their individual goals, the size of their estate and other factors. Discussing these things and understanding what they want for the future can significantly decrease complications that may arise down the road.
Peace of mind for the entire family
Estate planning is for everyone, but it is especially important for aging adults. The right planning tools can provide protection for the family in case the unexpected happens – and will also allow you to be clear about what they want long term. If you are unsure of what documents are best for their individual situation, you may benefit from seeking a professional assessment of their estate and long-term objectives.