Planning with Parents
At some point in their lives, your parents may need help with important tasks like estate and health care planning. If you’re like many adult children, you may find it difficult to bring up these subjects with your parents. And your parents may be equally reluctant to share details of their personal finances with you. But don’t assume your parents have taken steps to protect themselves and their assets. Talking to them now can prevent problems in the future.
Have the Talk
A good time to begin a discussion of finances may be when you’re preparing your own will and other planning documents. If your parents won’t share their information with you, suggest having a professional review their plan to make sure it’s current and comprehensive.
Review the Basics
A will is the cornerstone of any estate plan, and each of your parents should have one. Parents with significant assets may want to explore strategies for minimizing taxes and preserving wealth. Each parent also should consider having a health care proxy, naming someone to make medical decisions for them; a living will, spelling out the measures they would or would not want taken to prolong their lives; and a durable power of attorney, designating someone to act as an agent if they become mentally or physically incapacitated.
Even if your parents are in good health now, there’s no guarantee their situation won’t change in the future. Assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and at-home care can be expensive. As hard as it may be, discussing the possible need for care and how it would be paid for can help put everyone’s mind at ease.