How To Talk About Estate Planning With Your Parents
As you and your parents get older, you might start thinking about estate planning issues that could be needed in the future. Or, perhaps, neither you nor your parents have thought about those issues at all. Either way, there is no avoiding the inevitability of the aging process and death and the need to plan for those events.
It is an emotional conversation to have with your family, but an important one. Without plans in place, families can be left scrambling when our parents need long-term care or when they pass away. Without any type of estate plan, a family could face numerous financial obstacles and a lengthy probate process that could tie up their loved one’s real estate and assets for many months. Before death, confusion, infighting, and mounting medical expenses can result from a failure to plan for a nursing home or long-term care.
This is not what your family –especially a parent – wants to see happen. The best way to avoid these troublesome scenarios is to start an estate planning conversation with your parents and siblings. Regardless of your parents’ net worth or the property they own, it is crucial to outline all contingencies for their later years and eventual passing.
5 Tips for Making an Estate Planning Conversation Successful
- Make a list of topics to consider and questions you or your parents may have.
Some common questions to parents include:
- Who do you want as a primary caregiver if you require emergency medical care or are incapacitated?
- What are your medical care preferences?
- Do you want to be kept alive if placed on life support?
- Do you want to be an organ donor?
- What are your preferences for nursing home care?
- How do you want your home and property to pass forward?
- Who should be your personal representative for your estate?
The answers to these questions could help set terms for advanced directives, living wills, and other estate planning documents. These questions may also shed light on any Medicaid concerns or the need to establish eligibility for Florida Medicaid.
- Include any siblings whenever possible.
Even if you and your siblings communicate well on most issues, confusion and disagreements can arise during the end-of-life process and afterward. Having your siblings present and “on board” for these tough conversations now can eliminate arguments and frustration later. It will also comfort your parent(s) to know that everybody has a plan in mind for emergency scenarios and beyond.
- Identify Key Contacts
These may include your parents’ primary care physicians, accountants, insurance agents, religious clergy if they attend church, and any friends that they may wish to include. These conversations would take place through several separate meetings. Still, they can help you and your parents gain essential insight into the process – perhaps helping them consider things they hadn’t thought about before. You may have questions about end-of-life medical care that a doctor can answer or questions about trusts and retirement plans that your parent’s accountant can answer, for example.
- Discuss the Details of a Will
If your parent already has a will and wants to keep the terms private, that is one thing. However, some surveys show over 40% of people do not have a will or estate plan. Whether they dread the concept or have simply put it off, if your parents do not have a will established, they should consider it as soon as possible. Making it, a collaborative family effort can ease the process for some people. Whether your parents consider themselves wealthy, chances are they own financial and physical assets they would want to be distributed in a certain way. Giving them a chance to do this on their terms, without leaving it to chance in probate court, will help their peace of mind as they grow older.
- Have an estate planning attorney meet with you and your family.
When you are ready to move forward with planning, it often helps to have an experienced estate planning attorney in the room with your family to discuss the various pros and cons within an estate plan. An attorney can review the benefits of specific directives and financial trusts and highlight potential problems with certain estate planning approaches. Most importantly, an attorney that has handled estate planning and probate cases knows from experience what may or may not help your family meet your parents’ wishes.
Our Compassionate Tampa Estate Planning Attorneys Are Here to Help You and Your Family
We know that discussing end-of-life care and afterlife wishes for your parents can be uncomfortable and intimidating. This is a challenging process for you and them as well. However, failing to plan for these scenarios can make a tragic occurrence even worse for your family. The Tampa estate planning lawyers at Strategic Counsel Law Group, L.C., understand your concerns and will carefully review the estate planning tools available in your family’s situation.