How to Help Aging Parents with Estate Planning

Estate Planning for Elderly Parents

Along with the laughter, memories and milestones we experience over the course of our lives come some challenges. In particular, watching as our parents grow older can be emotional – especially when it comes to ensuring they’ve properly prepared for their future. 

Discussing estate planning with aging parents is certainly a crucial conversation to have. After all, they’ve dedicated much of their lives toward working hard and saving for retirement. But does that mean they’ve also established a plan that’ll carry out their wishes when they pass?

To avoid complications, hardships and even strained relationships when your parents pass, it’s essential to initiate the estate planning process as early as possible. Helping your aging parents with their estate planning will ensure everything is handled appropriately in the future. 

Beginning the Estate Planning Process for Aging Parents

While often a difficult conversation to have, it’s important not to procrastinate when it comes to estate planning. The reality is, unanticipated circumstances can arise at any time – whether it’s an accident or serious illness – and you want your parents to have their affairs in order while they’re in good health. When approaching the subject, simply communicate to your aging parents that you want to ensure their wishes are taken care of and the right decisions are made if they are unable to do so for themselves. 

Are Your Parents Working With an Estate Planning Attorney?

It’s vital to gather all the facts – including whether your parents have already begun working with an estate planning expert. If they haven’t, this is a crucial piece of the puzzle you can help them with. When searching for an estate planning lawyer, always keep your parents’ particular needs in mind. By doing so, you’ll be able to align your loved ones with a specialist who can accommodate everything they need. 

Get the Family Involved

When there are different parties involved, estate planning can become quite complex. To avoid any friction with relatives or siblings in the future, make sure they’re informed and included throughout the process. By openly tackling the estate planning process with the entire family, it provides the opportunity for each person’s voice to be heard – ensuring no unwanted disputes or complications arise upon your parents’ passing. 

Getting the whole family involved is also beneficial as you’ll have the freedom and flexibility to distribute various responsibilities if desired. A common misconception that arises when it comes to estate planning for aging parents is that it’s purely focused on succession. However, your parents will need support from you and your loved ones as time passes and they continue to age. Whether it’s making pivotal decisions on their behalf or assisting them with daily tasks, there are many instances that require the aid of family. 

Diving Into the Estate Planning Process

Crafting a strong estate plan goes beyond conversations surrounding the allocation of assets upon your parents’ passing. It also covers incapacity planning, which ensures your parents are properly cared for when they are unable to do so themselves. This includes:

  • Living Trust: Unlike a will, a living trust provides a comprehensive plan for your parents estate while they’re living and after death. A trust can be drafted as such, so that you can even avoid probate when that time comes.
  • Healthcare: By designating a particular family member as the healthcare designee, it allows them to make crucial decisions on behalf of your parents in situations concerning their health needs. 
  • Power of Attorney: Appointing a loved one or trusted individual as the power of attorney ensures your parent’s financial decisions are in capable hands. 

After all the particulars regarding your parent’s incapacity planning are complete, the next step is to cover death planning. A big step of this process entails establishing your parent’s Living Trust or  Last Will and Testament. Both are legal documents that communicate when and how your parent’s beneficiaries will inherit property and assets. They handle this in different ways with a Living Trust eliminating the need for the probate court process upon your parents’ deaths.

Pay Close Attention to Your Parents’ Wishes & Needs

When assisting aging parents with their estate planning, it’s important to remember the process goes beyond matters just pertaining to their assets. You want your loved ones to have all their questions and concerns addressed and ensure they’re comfortable with each decision that’s made. The goal is to provide support and make sure they never feel alone in the estate planning process. 

Most importantly, it requires finding a reputable and experienced estate planning attorney to provide specialized guidance every step of the way. The experts at Smith Barid are here to transform a complicated process into one that’s digestible, easy to navigate and free from unwanted errors. To learn more about how we can help, contact us today.

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