Estate Planning Discussions During The Holidays
Getting the entire family together can often be difficult due to geographic differences and timing, but the holidays serve as an opportunity to gather everyone in one place. Although you and your siblings may live in different states and have “lives of your own,” as your parents age it is important to be on the same page in regards to their future. Coming together during the holidays can serve as the perfect occasion to converse as a family about estate planning needs, as everyone will have the opportunity to be heard and involved. Being proactive can help the entire family avoid stress and chaos down the road, if an unforeseen event were to occur. Although it may be a tricky conversation to have, the following tips can aid in making the conservation easier and more productive for everyone involved.
- Prior to your holiday celebration have a discussion with your siblings and/or adult children about the need for an estate planning conversation with Mom and Dad. Be on the lookout for signs of elderly risks with Mom and Dad, including: unpaid bills, bruising on arms or forehead, hoarding, an empty refrigerator, and trip hazards around the home (such as clutter on the stairs)
- When you and the family approach Mom and Dad to discuss estate planning, be sure to ease into the conversation as it can often be a sensitive topic of discussion for aging parents. Express all of your concerns, whether they be financial or medical, and be sure to consider the cost of care.
- Ask your parents if they have already drawn up legal documents in regards to their future plans. If they already have estate planning documents in place then they may just need to be reviewed and updated.
- Remember, the conversation can be left open; nothing has to be decided today. The estate planning discussion can serve as a catalyst to get Mom and Dad thinking about the future.
- Although drawing up estate planning documents may seem simple, it’s best to leave the work to a professional. Be sure to look for an attorney that can assist with asset protection and elder law. An estate planning firm can not only protect your parents’ estate now but also draw up a clear plan for the future and help to put everyone at ease.