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Boca Raton Estate Planning Lawyer / Blog / Asset Protection / Tips for Having “The Talk” with Aging Parents

Tips for Having “The Talk” with Aging Parents

Talking about aging, loss of independence, and estate planning is difficult. These topics are emotional but are an essential conversation for every family.

Unless you are certain your parents have an up-to-date estate plan for what should happen in the event of their incapacity or passing, you shouldn’t assume everything will be taken care of.

The following tips can help you discuss these challenging topics thoroughly to prepare your family moving forward.

  1. Plan What You Can

Discussing estate planning and all it entails is not something that should happen without any thought or plan.  We recommend making a list of subjects and questions and then letting your parents know what you wish to discuss. Be aware that you may need to have a few conversations, as you do not want to overwhelm or cover too many topics, at once. Remember to use language that’s respectful and reassuring, and to take a break if the conversation becomes too emotional or stressful.

  1. Identify Key People

There are several essential people you may need to contact for estate planning purposes. Ask your parents for the names and contact information of their:

  • Doctor(s) – including specialists
  • Attorney(s)
  • Financial advisor(s)
  • Accountant
  1. Existing Estate Planning Documents

Determine whether there is an existing estate plan such as a Last Will & Testament or Living Trust in place and whether the documents are up to date. It is important to ensure that your parents have chosen someone to handle their financial decisions, whether or not they become incapacitated. If they haven’t appointed an agent/attorney-in-fact under a power of attorney, suggest they consider doing so. If the documents were created more than three to five years ago, see if they would consider reviewing them to ensure their current wishes are accurate.  Find out where they keep their documents (originals and/or copies) and discuss who they have appointed as their executors and agents. Now is also a good time to discuss their assets and get a list of their accounts, such as bank and investment accounts, retirement accounts, and credit cards.

  1. Discuss End-of-Life Wishes

Even though this topic may be difficult to talk about, we strongly recommend that discuss your parents’ end-of-life wishes with them. Consider their values and wishes. This can help you navigate a conversation about what matters most at the end of life or if they become incapacitated. Their estate plan will be incomplete without these advanced directives, so it’s important to include them. These directives may include:

  • The appointment of a Health Care Surrogate, also known as an Advanced Health Care Directive, who can make medical decisions for your parents if they become incapable of making those decisions for themselves.
  • A Living Will is designed to allow a person to direct the withdrawal or termination of life support under specific conditions, such as your parents becoming terminally ill or an end stage condition, or in a persistent vegetative state.
  1. Ask About Insurance Policies

We recommend asking about the type of insurance policies in place, including, but not limited to:

  • Health insurance, including Medicare or private insurance, and any supplemental health insurance policies
  • Life insurance
  • Homeowner’s insurance
  • Long-term care insurance
  • Disability insurance

Ask for the names and contact details of the insurance companies and where the policy documents are kept.

It is also recommended to ask about preneed funeral or burial arrangements. Talk about their wishes such as the memorial service they want and whether they want to be buried or cremated.

Ultimately, these conversations can be tough no matter how you approach them. It is best to be understanding and supportive with your parents throughout the process.

The attorneys at SAMUELS WOOD PLLC are experienced in guiding families through the process of estate planning, incapacity planning, and advance directives. We can assist you in navigating this challenging conversation, while maintaining dignity and a voice to all parties. To learn more or to schedule a consultation contact us at (561) 864-3371.

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