Estate Planning: Is Your Parent’s “House” in Order?

Wait a minute! I’m talking about your parent’s estate planning, right? Shouldn’t this article be directed to your parents? There are two main reasons why I am addressing the kids:

  1. If you (or your parents) are like 70% of the rest of America, then you or they have not done any estate planning at all (or if you have it is very old and sometimes counterproductive).
  2. In our Elder Law Practice, we are usually dealing with the kids. Why? Because one spouse is usually deceased and the other is going into a Nursing Home (Today!) and has done NO estate planning.

This is no reflection on you or your business ability. In my 30 plus years of practicing law, I have discovered that size of an estate usually doesn’t matter. It seems like the people with a lot of money procrastinate just the same as people with little money. If you are one of those, “Get it done!” people, I want to offer you an 8-page comprehensive summary of three broad categories of estate planning documents. Click the button below to download.

DOWNLOAD MY SUMMARY

If you are a Senior – Here’s your chance!

If you are a Senior reading this, I would challenge you to take the proverbial “bull by the horns”. Now is the time to get your estate planning house in order! No one knows your business better than you. Also, certainly no one (other than you) knows how you want things handled. But, if you don’t get things in order, you have forfeited the right to choose. Someone else (probably one or more of your kids) will attempt to step into your shoes and make your decisions. If you haven’t designated who is to act for you and state what you want to happen on your death or incapacity, then your kids will have to do a lot of guessing. It doesn’t have to be this way. As you begin to think about estate planning, our past blog post discusses Three Things You Should Know About Pre-Planning.

Failures in Estate Planning may Profoundly Affect your Kids

The truth is, it may not make a lot of difference to the parents whether they plan or not. Parents have access to their assets and can use them for whatever purpose they please. However, their lack of estate planning may have a profound effect on you as the family caregiver, should your parents become incapacitated before they die.

If your parents suffer a stroke, develop Alzheimer’s, or become physically unable to tend to their business affairs, the the kids are usually the ones who inherit these task of cleaning up the mess and managing day to day tasks. The adult kids pay their bills, tend to their business dealings, file tax returns, handle banking transactions, pay their medical bills, and take care of many other day-to-day transactions.

Here at Elder Law, we want to help you sort out your estate planning needs before they become a mess.
We want to get started today by giving you our 8-page Estate Planning Summary.

How to “Fix This” in Advance

  1. If you are a Senior reading this, please get to your attorney (hopefully us!) today to put your wishes in writing. Only by doing this will your kids be authorized to act on your behalf should you lose capacity. LIKEWISE, only by getting your documents in place will you be able to say how you want your assets distributed at death.
  2. If you are one of the adult kids reading this and you know that your parents have not put their estate planning “house” in order, gently encourage them to do so. Just know that in the end, this is their decision – not yours. However, if they fail to act, it may make it more difficult for you to manage their estate if they can’t act for themselves.

When a decision is made to get your estate planning “house” in order, you will need to know what types of documents you need to be aware of. Click here to download an 8-page comprehensive summary of three broad categories of estate planning documents. You may need all of these or none of these. Exactly what you need can be determined only after having a discussion with your Elder Law or Estate Planning Attorney. However, knowing this information will give you a good place to begin the discussion. Our blog post, entitled Getting Momma’s Stuff Together goes a bit deeper.

Download your Estate Planning Summary and start your plan (or gently encourage your parents to start their plan) today.