Talking with Aging Parents About Their Estate Plan

When people think about talking with their aging parents about the future, they are often stressed and nervous. How will the conversation go, how will their parents react, and what should they say? Because of this, children often put off this conversation, delaying it for as long as possible. However, delaying too long can be dangerous—as parents get older, it may be more difficult for them to make decisions about their future, which could lead to even more hurdles. Below are a few questions children should ask their aging parents about estate planning, and why there is such a need to do so as soon as possible.

Questions to Ask Your Aging Parents:

What Are Your Future Plans for Your Money?

It is important to talk with parents about how they envision their money being spent—both during their lifetime and afterward. As you encourage them to create an estate plan, if they do not already have one in place, they should be thinking about how much money to put away for potential medical expenses, living situations once they can no longer living by themselves, and other long term care and unforeseen costs.

Additionally, children should discuss with their parents how they plan on gifting their remaining assets. Do they plan on leaving it to family members? Giving it to charity? Parents should carefully think about this as they are going through the estate planning process. And by communicating these wishes to their children, the children can prepare their expectations for the future and help in any way they can.

Have You Spoken with an Estate Planning Attorney?

In having these important conversations with their loved ones, children must emphasize the importance of making estate planning documents. Without these documents in place, if the parent becomes mentally incapacitated, the children may have to legally jump through hoops to ensure the parent’s wishes are being followed. With an estate plan—and estate planning documents like healthcare directives and a will—in place, children can also act, knowing they are doing what their parents would have wanted.

Some parents might think they can form an estate plan on their own. However, this is not encouraged. Instead, they should reach out to an experienced estate planning attorney to help. Estate planning attorneys can advise clients on what documents should be included in their plan, the right way to structure their assets, and how to avoid making costly mistakes.
Asking parents these questions about the future and estate planning may be difficult and stressful. But having these conversations will help in the long run.

Contact a Houston Estate Planning Attorney

If you have an aging parent who needs help crafting an estate plan, contact the Houston estate planning attorneys at McCulloch & Miller, PLLC. It can be difficult for children to reconcile what they used to know and remember when parents get older and require more of their assistance. By working with the experienced attorneys at McCulloch & Miller, we will reduce these stresses and create an estate plan that works for your parents and their needs. To schedule an initial, free consultation and to speak with one of our lawyers, give us a call at 713-333-8900 today.

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