Have you talked to your parents about estate planning? In an effort to ease the worry of taxes, wealth preservation, probate, and all of the myriad challenges that come with estate planning, the best time to talk to your parents about their plans or, lack thereof, may be as soon as possible.
While it might be a delicate topic, it can be a vital conversation to have as it will allow you to help them create a plan that honors their dearest hopes and wishes. In an effort to make this talk with your aging parents as productive as possible, let us review some of the important questions you should be asking your aging parents about estate planning.
- Do you have a durable power of attorney?
Powers of attorney (POA) can be essential in some cases, but their reach extends only as far as the individual’s ability to handle matters on their own. Should your aging parent become incapacitated, the POA may no longer be in effect. A durable power of attorney, however, remains in place even when the principal has become incapacitated. This means that the agent designated by the person who put the durable power of attorney in place, the principal, will retain the power granted by the power of attorney even in the event that the principal becomes incapacitated.
- Where do you keep your estate planning documents?
Original estate planning documents must be accessible and up-to-date. Knowing where they are kept will help you avoid legal issues that could ensue if they cannot be found. Be sure you know where all original estate documents are kept and, perhaps, file originals with an attorney or trustee for redundancy.
- When was the last time you updated your estate plan?
Estate planning is an ongoing effort. Any changes to health, wealth, or circumstances should be considered in the context of the estate plan and how the event will impact it. Births or deaths in the family are good examples of when to review your estate plan for any updates that may be needed.
You should not wait until your aging parents are incapacitated to address their estate plans. The more you know, the easier it will be for you to help them prepare. To learn more about what you can do, make an appointment with our office today.