Helping your elderly parents to plan their estate is one of the most important things that you can do. A well planned estate will ensure that your parent’s wishes are carried out as well as making sure that they receive the best care possible without putting a financial strain on you and the rest of your family. The first step to planning your parent’s estate is to talk to them about their wishes. Find out who they want taking care of them in a medical emergency. As well, talk about their financial affairs. Make sure that you stress the importance of making all these decisions before they have to be acted on in order to avoid confusion and pressure later on. Ask for the names of their attorney and financial planner so that you have them for your own records.
Designate one person who is in charge of your parent’s health care issues. This person should be chosen by your parents and be someone with whom they are comfortable and who they trust to take care of their best interests. Obvious choices are you, your siblings, or a close family friend. Always have a backup plan in place in case the first person chosen is unable to meet the responsibility. The second choice should be someone who is just as familiar with your parent’s medical and financial situation.
Discuss with your parents the benefits of having a living will. Emphasize that a living will is there as guidance for medical situations that may arise where your parents are unable to speak up for themselves. As well, you might want to talk about hospice care in the event that your parents require this type of medical attention. Make sure your parents understand that the bills will keep coming in even if one of them is ill. Talk with other family members to determine what will happen if your parents are unable to make their own decisions about finances and medical care. By researching information, such as the cost of home care, ahead of time both you and your parents will have a better understanding of what it will cost to take care of them.
When planning your parent’s estate make sure that the assets can be passed on the heirs of the will as fast and easily as possible. A good attorney can help you avoid tax penalties so more of your parent’s assets go the beneficiaries and less to the state. By ensuring that your parents have a legal will you’ll avoid all the legal hassles that come about when a will is lacking.