Watching your parents age can be an emotional and stressful process. Acknowledging our own mortality—not to mention the mortality of our loved ones—is difficult and uncomfortable to talk about. But your help could be critical in getting your elderly parent the estate planning help they need.
Why Is It Important for an Elderly Parent to Have an Estate Plan?
A well-documented estate plan helps ensure that your elderly parent's end-of-life wishes are carried out efficiently, effectively, and without undue expense and burden on their family. An estate plan also provides peace of mind for the entire family.
What Are the Components of an Estate Plan?
While the specifics of an estate plan will vary depending on the person's assets, health needs, and wishes, there are a few documents that are helpful to many estate plans. These include:
- Will. A will is a legal document that states what should happen with a person's belongings upon death. A will helps ensure efficiency and accuracy in the distribution of a person's assets after their death because it avoids the probate process, which can be time-consuming, expensive, and might yield results contrary to the individual's wishes.
- Power of Attorney. Like a power of attorney for health care, an elderly parent should also have a financial power of attorney naming the person who can act on their behalf regarding financial decisions.
- Health Care Proxy. A power of attorney names a person who has the legal authority to make health care decisions for an individual in the event that they become incapable of making these decisions on their own.
Additionally, a revocable or irrevocable trust may also be appropriate, and an elderly parent may want to consider long-term care insurance as well. You can also create a trust in your will. It will come into existence upon your death. Such trusts are useful if you have minor children, or if you have grown up, but irresponsible children or child.
How Can You Help an Elderly Parent with Estate Planning?
The best way to help your elderly parent with estate planning is to talk about it with them. Be patient and compassionate. An estate planning attorney can advise on the specific documents and components that make sense for their situation and wishes.
Contact our experienced attorneys to discuss how to help your elderly parent with estate planning.