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How to Discuss Estate Planning with Your Aging Parents

Planning for your Life, your Livelihood, your Legacy

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July 10, 2024 •  NW Estate Law, LLC
Discussing estate planning with your aging parents is vital to protect their wishes. It can be a hard conversation to start. However, it’s still necessary.

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Want to help protect your parents’ wishes and assets? Then, estate planning is essential. With proper estate planning, their assets can be put to use, while maintaining their priorities, even after they’ve passed. Estate planning saves you and your loved ones the stress of trying to figure out what they would’ve wanted, so you can properly process their death. The process of discussing estate planning may be uncomfortable for the people involved, but it is most definitely worth the conversation. To benefit everyone, have compassion and take a thoughtful, patient approach.

When Should You Talk to Your Parents about Estate Planning?

Don’t wait to start this conversation until it is too late, the sooner the better. It is best to talk about estate planning while your parents are relaxed and receptive. This will make it easier to discuss their passing. Don’t wait until there is a crisis and your parents are suffering. This will inhibit your decisions as you will be processing the stress of the event, have heightened emotions, and possibly will be unable to make educated decisions with your parent’s wishes or consent.

How to Start the Conversation

First before starting the conversation, make a list of who should be apart of this discussion. Siblings, children, spouses, and other close family members or friends should be involved. Ensure that everyone is on the same page that the conversation is about supporting your parents. This should be emphasized. Your parents’ wishes should be prioritized over anyone else's personal gain.

What Estate Planning Topics Should I Discuss with My Parents?

  • Wills: Ask your parents if they have a will and if it's up to date. A will outlines how they want their assets distributed and names an executor to handle the document's requests.
  • Power of Attorney: Discuss the importance of power of attorney. This way, your parents have someone to handle financial issues if they are unable to do so themselves.
  • Healthcare Proxy: A healthcare proxy, also known as a healthcare power of attorney. By establishing this, your parents can choose someone to make medical decisions on their behalf if they are incapacitated.
  • Living Will: A living will dictates end-of-life care preferences, including options such as feeding tubes, respirators and do-not-resuscitate orders.
  • Trusts: Explain the benefits of setting up a trust. A trust can manage assets during and after their lifetime. This can protect them from fraud and abuse and reduce the tax burden on their estate.
  • Beneficiaries: Ensure that your parents have up-to-date beneficiary designations on their accounts and life insurance policies.
  • Burial Decisions: Discuss any pre-planned funeral arrangements or burial plots they might want to purchase in advance.
  • Organ Donation: Many people wish to donate their bodies for the good of others. If they wish to do so, your parents will need to complete a consent form first.

Reflecting on the Next Step

If your parents have already started estate planning, this conversation can help clarify their plans and address any gaps. By approaching the topic with compassion and patience, you can help them take important steps toward securing their future and make sure that you’re both on the same page.

Don’t Leave It Up to Chance

Estate planning is crucial for protecting your aging parents' wishes and ensuring peace of mind for the whole family. To learn more or to start creating a plan, request a consultation with our experienced estate planning attorneys today.

Key Takeaways

  • Set Clear Intentions: Make it clear that your goal is to support your parents and ensure that their wishes are followed.
  • Explain the Benefits: Highlight how estate planning protects their legacy and reduces future stress for the family.
  • Listen Actively: Give your parents space to share their thoughts and feelings. Respect their decisions and pace.
  • Offer Help: Assist with finding an attorney or accessing necessary forms and documents.

Client Success Stories

Mount Hood Senior Solutions
February 7, 2022.
We value and appreciate all of their hard work. Always a pleasure to work with! Communicates effectively and in a timely manner. Highly recommend
Nicole Lu
December 7, 2020.
We used Meredith for our estate planning and cohabitation contract recently after we bought a house. She was very responsive, very Covid aware/safe and lovely to work with.
Daniel Lee
January 7, 2020.
We had a great experience working with Meredith when putting together our estate planning documentation. She was always professional and courteous, explaining legal concepts and terminology in a way that was straightforward for us to understand. Meredith was responsive and open to answering our questions so we could fully evaluate different options. She provided sound recommendations for us to consider based on our current position and point in life. Even given the gravity and importance of the estate planning process, Meredith put us at ease and made us feel comfortable coming to decisions and documenting outcomes that work best for us. We intend to work with Meredith for future needs that we may have, and would highly recommend working with her to others.
Floyd Frick
March 28, 2019.
The best! .... I used Meredith to get me thru an estate settlement. It went smooth. Thanks.
Christine Borchert
August 9, 2018.
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