Have you considered the importance of having a conversation with your parents about their estate plans? Talking about the future and reflecting on what needs to be in place should one or both of your parents fall ill or pass away can be an uncomfortable situation, but it can also provide peace of mind to all involved. To help foster a productive conversation with your aging parents about their estate plans, here are some questions to consider asking.
1. Do you know who will inherit your assets?
Even though it is something that we do not like to think about, are your parents clear on who they would like to inherit certain assets? Remember, assets do not necessarily refer to money or financial resources. Your parents should also specify who should receive items that hold great sentimental value.
2. Is your will up to date?
Estate planning documents, like wills, should always be up to date to reflect your parents’ wishes. If the documents are not or if anything is unclear, your parents wishes may not be properly honored. Estate plans should be periodically reviewed, especially in the event of major life changes, such as a birth or a death in the family.
3. Do you have a health care surrogate in place?
This may be one of the most important questions you ask your parents. Should either of your parents become incapacitated and unable to communicate their health care wishes, the designated health care surrogate will make these decision on their behalf. This means that your parents have the opportunity to select a trusted individual, who understands their wishes, to make critical health care decisions for them should they be unable to communicate them for themselves.
4. 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? Failure to have the original estate planning documents can cause serious problems. If you do not have the original last will and testament, it may be very difficult to probate the estate according to the terms of the missing will. Talk to your parents about how and where they are storing their original estate planning documents to help ensure they are safe and accessible.
Estate planning is a complex and important topic to discuss, especially with your aging parents. It is filled with difficult issues to address and resolve. Our office is here to help with your estate planning needs. Contact us today to schedule a meeting.