Although it is extremely important to have a conversation about Estate Planning, many people are hesitant to raise the subject with their parents. Children may not think it’s their place to raise the issue or may be waiting for Mom or Dad to bring it up. They might be uncomfortable discussing it or simply don’t want to think about the losing their parents. They may not believe it’s their place to raise the issue
While it may be uncomfortable and even awkward to begin the conversation, here are some questions to ask your parents about their estate
THINGS TO ASK YOUR PARENTS ABOUT THEIR ESTATE PLANS AND WISHES
•1. DO YOU HAVE A WILL? If they don’t have a legally enforceable, written document, the state will decide who gets what of their money and property. Your parents can AVOID ISSUES FOR THEIR LOVED ONES by planning now. This will save their family time and heart-ache after their death. Failing to even establish a will can push your estate into intestate succession, meaning the courts will decide what family members will get and how much.
Also, be sure to find out where the LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT is. Does the attorney have it? Is it in a file somewhere? Is it in a safety-deposit box?
•2. DO YOU HAVE A POWER OF ATTORNEY and a MEDICAL DIRECTIVE? Power of Attorney is a legal document giving the authority to act for another person in specified or all legal or financial or health care issues. A Medical Directive, also known as a Living Will, is a legal document which outlines health care wishes should your parent not be fit to make them known.
•3. IS THERE ANYTHING I SHOULD KNOW? Ask about detailed desires so you know your loved ones’ preferences — burial or cremation, which funeral home and cemetery, and what to do with ashes, for example. One of our clients who was ailing planned her funeral down to the last detail to save her loved ones that heartache. We made sure she communicated this to her husband so he didn’t have to guess at her wishes.
Now that you know what to ask, what’s the best way to bring up this topic? You know your parents best of all. You may want to introduce the subject of estate planning over a cup of coffee with just your mother or your father. You may sit both of them down at a family dinner. If they have a great sense of humor, you can break the ice with a joke. Or, you can even reference this blog! You can say that you were reading Vinsko & Associates’ blog post and the Attorneys suggested that you have a conversation about estate planning with your parents. In our experience, you and your parents will feel relief once you know their plans.
Please contact us if we can help you and your parents with WILLS, POWER OF ATTORNEY, MEDICAL DIRECTIVE or any aspect of estate planning.