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Todd Villarrubia

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How to Discuss Estate Planning with Your Aging Parents

Posted On: July 9, 2024

By: Todd Villarrubia

Todd M. Villarrubia, an authority in wealth planning and preservation, brings over 30 years of in-depth, experience to the complex challenges of safeguarding familial and individual wealth. Based in New Orleans, Louisiana, his expertise is not only recognized in the local community but also reverberates within the legal industry.
Discussing estate planning with your aging parents is vital to protect their wishes. It can be a hard conversation to start. However, it’s still necessary.

Estate planning is essential to protect your parents’ assets and wishes. Proper estate planning can put their assets to use, serving their priorities, even when they’re gone. It can spare you and your loved ones extra stress while you process their passing. However, discussing estate planning can be uncomfortable for everyone involved. Take a compassionate, thoughtful approach to having a conversation that benefits everyone.

When Should You Talk to Your Parents about Estate Planning?

According to Thrivent, the best time to talk about estate planning with aging parents is sooner rather than later. When your parents are relaxed and receptive, starting a conversation about their passing is easier. If you wait until a crisis, you’ll have to navigate the emotional burdens your parents are already suffering. Be proactive and discuss estate planning with your parents when possible, not when necessary.

How to Start the Conversation

Before bringing up the topic, organize your thoughts and consider who needs to join the conversation. Involve siblings or other close family members and ensure that everyone is on the same page. Emphasize that the conversation is about supporting your parents. Put their wishes first and foremost, rather than centering on anyone’s personal gain.

What Estate Planning Topics Should I Discuss with My Parents?

  • Wills: Ask your parents if they have a will and if it's up to date. A will outlines how they want their assets distributed and names an executor to handle the document's requests.
  • Power of Attorney: Discuss the importance of power of attorney. This way, your parents have someone to handle financial issues if they are unable to do so themselves.
  • Healthcare Proxy: A healthcare proxy is also known as a healthcare power of attorney. By setting this up, your parents can choose someone to make medical decisions on their behalf if they are incapacitated.
  • Living Will: A living will dictates end-of-life care preferences, including options such as feeding tubes, respirators and do-not-resuscitate orders.
  • Trusts: Explain the benefits of setting up a trust. A trust can manage assets during and after their lifetime. This can protect them from fraud and abuse and reduce the tax burden on their estate.
  • Beneficiaries: Ensure that your parents have up-to-date beneficiary designations on their accounts and life insurance policies.
  • Burial Decisions: Discuss any pre-planned funeral arrangements or burial plots they might want to purchase in advance.
  • Organ Donation: Many people wish to donate their bodies for the good of others. If they wish to do so, your parents will need to complete a consent form first.

Reflecting on the Next Step

If your parents have already started estate planning, this conversation can help clarify their plans and address any gaps. By approaching the topic with compassion and patience, you can help them take important steps toward securing their future.

Don’t Leave It Up to Chance

Estate planning with aging parents is crucial to protect their wishes and ensure peace of mind for the whole family. To learn more or to start creating a plan, request a consultation with our experienced estate planning attorneys today.

Key Takeaways

  • Set Clear Intentions: Make it clear that your goal is to support your parents and ensure that their wishes are followed.
  • Explain the Benefits: Highlight how estate planning protects their legacy and reduces future stress for the family.
  • Listen Actively: Give your parents space to share their thoughts and feelings. Respect their decisions and pace.
  • Offer Help: Assist with finding an attorney or accessing necessary forms and documents.

Reference: Тhrivent (Jul. 25, 2023) "How to Talk to Your Parents About Estate Planning With Compassion | Thrivent

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