Coming to terms with the fact that your parents are aging is hard. You might be uncomfortable thinking about it, and your parents might be uncomfortable talking about it. While there may be valid concerns, there are still benefits to discussing important end-of-life matters. By helping an aging parent plan now, you can save time, stress and money.
According to a Forbes article, estate planning is the number one issue you should bring up with aging parents. There are various pressing issues affected by estate planning, such as finances and medical care. Here are a few suggestions for helping your parents make sound decisions for the inevitable.
1. Making a will
If your parent does not have a will yet, you should encourage him or her to create one. A will appoints a trusted individual to manage an estate and determine how property is transferred upon death. This should be the first step. Make sure your parent has a will and then move on to other matters.
2. Financial and medical decisions
What happens in the event your parent becomes mentally incapable of making financial decisions? Your parents should have a power of attorney to make financial decisions. There should also be a separate health care proxy who has the authority to make decisions regarding medical care.
3. Trust documents
There are certain instances where a living trust comes in handy. Your parent should have a good estate plan that lets him or her determine exactly where assets go. When creating a trust, your parent will also appoint someone as a successor trustee. A trust can help your family avoid probate, taxes and how heirs receive assets.
No one wants to think of the inevitable, but hashing out an estate plan now can save a lot of stress and money later. Try having a heart-to-heart discussion with your parent and find out if he or she has an estate planning attorney.