It is never easy to watch your parents get older. Facing the fact that your parents are aging may feel uncomfortable and intimidating. However, it is important to face this issue head-on and have some conversations with your parents about their finances and estate planning.
You may find it difficult to talk to your mom or dad about these matters, but it is crucial for all families to do. Here are some essential questions you should ask your parents to ensure their estate is secure.
1. Where are your important documents?
It is imperative for your parents to store their paperwork in a safe place. Ask about the locations of the following documents:
- Wills, trusts and other estate planning documents
- Health insurance cards
- Life insurance cards
- Property insurance cards
- Social Security cards
- Medicare cards
- Financial accounts
- Tax returns
- Car titles
- Property deeds and titles
All of these documents should ideally be in the same place. If your parents do not have a designated location for this paperwork, help them find one.
2. Do you have legal documents that affect medical care?
Your parents should have more than just wills or trusts. Find out if your parents have financial powers of attorney or health care proxies. Talk to them about the importance of designating someone to handle their money and medical decisions if they become unable to do so for themselves. This is especially important if your parents have strong views regarding life support or financial obligations.
3. When did you last update your estate plan?
While having an estate plan is a good start, it is not enough. Ask your parents when they last made changes to their estate plans. It is crucial for their estate plans to be updated after any changes take place in your family, such as a divorce, birth of a child or death.
If you ask your parents these questions, you will feel more confident about their estate plan.