As your parents age, you may have concerns about their estate plan. While it may feel awkward stepping in and offering to assist, it’s better than sitting back and hoping that your parents have everything in order.
When discussing estate planning with your aging parents, it’s critical to leave yourself out of the equation. You don’t want to give off the impression that you’re only offering to help because it could benefit you.
Here are some of the questions you can ask your parents to jumpstart the conversation:
- Do you have an estate plan? You’re hoping that the answer is yes, but it’s possible that your parents haven’t taken on this responsibility just yet. If they haven’t, you will want to discuss the benefits of creating a comprehensive estate plan before it’s too late.
- Does your estate plan cover long-term care planning? For example, you can discuss long-term care insurance, Medicaid and if they’ve selected a nursing facility for care should the time come.
- Do you have a living will? This is designed to allow your parents to make health care decisions now, as to protect their wishes in the event of future incapacitation. For example, they may want to include a do not resuscitate order.
- Have you considered the benefits of both a will and trust? For example, your parents may have a will, but they’ve yet to learn more about the benefits of a trust, such as privacy protection and the avoidance of probate.
- When was the last time you reviewed your estate plan? If it’s been more than a couple years, it’s time that they review it again with an eye toward any conditions that require changes. The estate plan they created a decade ago isn’t likely to suit them nearly as well today.
There’s nothing easy about discussing estate planning with your aging parents. Not only do you have to tread carefully as to not give off a bad impression, but you’ll also come face to face with the fact that they’re going to pass on one day.
Fortunately, when you ask these types of questions, it’s easier to have this conversation with the idea that you’ll ultimately be able to help your parents.