For many of us, the time may come when we may have to face the difficult task of discussing future plans with our aging parents. It may be imperative that we do have this conversation, though, as we try to help them secure their future. We also want to avoid unnecessary difficulties along the way, especially if they become sick and need long term care.
Even though it can be a tough conversation, there may be some things that you can address in order to help ensure your parent protects his or her future interests. Today, we will cover four important questions to ask your aging parent.
- Is your parent working with an attorney he or she trusts? This question really should be answered. After all, the lawyer that they have chosen writes up the legal documents of the estate plan. These documents hold critical legal information put in place to help a person protect himself or herself and his or her loved ones. These documents must be legally and properly created. Additionally, having the right estate planning attorney on your side, who understands your unique situation and can advise you appropriately, may be absolutely critical to proper estate planning.
- Where are the original estate planning documents kept? If the time arrives when, sadly, your parent dies or becomes incapacitated, do you know where the original estate planning documents are? The original documents can be necessary to commence a health care surrogate, durable power of attorney or probate. For example, if you do not have the original will, it may be very difficult to probate the estate according to the terms of the missing will.
- Do they have a health care surrogate in place? A health care surrogate allows a person to select a trusted individual who will be empowered to make health care decisions on his or her behalf should the person become incapacitated and otherwise unable to communicate such preferences.
- If your parents have a trust, has it been properly funded? If not, it could mean a long and expensive probate before you can have access to their assets. To understand it a little better, remember, funding a trust involves taking assets that are titled in the trust settlor’s name and retitling them into the name of the settlor’s trust.
Estate planning involves many complicated and delicate subjects. For help answering these questions and developing an estate plan that meets your unique needs or those of your parents, our office is here for you. Feel free to contact us today to schedule a meeting.