Talking about estate planning can be uncomfortable. After all, who wants to think about their own mortality or losing a loved one? Although it may be a touchy subject, it is never too early to address these issues with your parents or other loved ones. The uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic has led many people to consider what they want as far as medical and end-of-life decisions go, and has motivated them to make sure their affairs are in order in the event of incapacity or death. Finding an experienced attorney at an estate planning law firm can make it easier to talk with your parents and help your family create a plan that gives everyone peace of mind.
Include Your Siblings
When only one adult child in a family knows the details of their parents’ estate plan, it can lead to distrust and conflict down the road. Before you bring up estate planning with your parents, having an open and frank discussion with your siblings can help you prepare for the conversation and give the process a sense of transparency.
Do it Now
Waiting to talk about estate planning with your parents can have tragic results. Life is unpredictable, and circumstances can change in the blink of an eye. Set up a day when everyone has plenty of time to discuss all aspects of estate planning. If your parents are hesitant about it, let them know you want to discuss these issues to protect them, ensure their wishes are carried out as specified, and make things easier for the family should an unexpected illness, injury, or death occur.
Address Powers of Attorney and Advance Directives
There are several vital documents that should be included in any estate plan. Before your parents create powers of attorney and advance health care directives, they will need to decide who to name as agents to make decisions on their behalf and which types of medical treatment they do or do not want. Making these important decisions ahead of time and discussing them with the whole family can help take a lot of weight off everyone’s shoulders.
If your parents already have a will, make sure it is updated, especially if they have gotten remarried or experienced other significant life changes. Even if they consider their finances private, letting their children glean an understanding of their assets and wealth overall can be helpful. This is also a good time to talk about long-term care and whether certain types of trusts may provide benefits to your parents and family.
Help them Find an Estate Planning Attorney
If your parents do not have an estate planning attorney they are already working with, encourage them to consult one. Whether they already have a plan or they are starting from scratch, a wills and trusts lawyer can take a comprehensive look at their specific situation and address any concerns or questions they may have. Wills and estate attorneys can provide legal advice that can help them understand how estate planning works and create a solid plan that protects everyone’s interests.