It can be hard to sit down and ask your aging parents these questions. No one wants to think about what is going to be happening sometime in the future, but it’s an important discussion to have while they still have the capacity to make these decisions.
An estate plan not only provides a game plan for families after the loss of a loved one, but it also makes the distribution of property much less complicated as well. In some cases, property may even be able to pass to intended beneficiaries without the need for probate, but only if the proper plan is in place. Here are a few things to consider when talking with your parent about estate planning.
Have they completed an estate plan? Is it up-to-date?
If your parents have any assets at all, it’s crucial that they develop a plan which relays how they wish to have their property passed down to loved ones. Additionally, with proper estate planning, families can also determine how to pay for any long-term care that an elderly parent may need if they need to go into a nursing home or assisted living facility.
If your parent has an estate plan, ask them to review it to make sure it still matches their current plans. Some plans can be older, and life changes over the years may create issues that can cause serious problems down the line. If changes are made, the plans can be updated before they lead to challenges to the estate by beneficiaries who may have concerns about the documents.
What about health care they should receive?
Often, one of the most difficult issues that families face happens when a loved one becomes incapacitated and is unable to express his or her wishes regarding the health care that they should receive. Without a living will or advance medical directive, it is possible that a conflict may arise in the family about what sort of care should be provided.
Make sure your parents are clear about the medical treatment they wish to receive in the event of incapacitation. An estate plan is really not as complete as it could possibly be if this information is missing. No one wants to be the one put in a position to make this decision in the midst of a crisis. Having the guidance you need can make such a difficult time much easier to navigate.