For many parents, it can be difficult to think about how their children will have to take care of them in their old age—and how they will have to pick up the pieces once they pass away. Because of this, many parents will avoid including their children in the estate planning process or, worse, not take any estate planning measures at all. While the initial goal may have been to avoid burdening their children, not creating an estate plan can have the opposite effect. Below are some tips and information that individuals should take now to prevent uncomfortable situations—often that their children will have to handle—in the future.
Create a Will
One of the most important estate planning steps is to create a will. Having a will in place dictates how a person’s assets are to be distributed. If a person does not have a will and they pass away, their assets will go to probate court where a judge will decide who will receive the items in the estate. This process can take months or years and is often difficult for loved ones to handle and manage during an already emotionally fraught time. Similarly, having a will in place reduces the stress that loved ones face of knowing whether the assets are going to the person the deceased would have wanted.
Implementing a Power of Attorney
Talking with loved ones about who will serve as a power of attorney can reduce future family infighting and worries when a loved one becomes ill or incapacitated. A healthcare proxy makes decisions on another person’s behalf when they become physically or mentally incapacitated and thus cannot make these choices for themselves. Many parents do not want their children to have to make these decisions; however, many children would rather be in charge of their parent’s medical decisions than see an uninterested party make them—or worse, have no one who is able to make these decisions at all.