Elder Law

8 Tips for Having ‘The Talk’ with Elderly Parents

Unless you’re certain your parents have an up-to-date will and a wider plan for what should happen in the event of their passing, you shouldn’t assume everything will be taken care of.

According to a 2017 survey, less than half of Americans have a will. If your mother or father dies intestate – meaning without a will – such a situation could lead to added emotional strain and stress. And it could have financial implications for all their children and/or other family members.

The following eight tips can help you discuss the hard topics thoroughly and respectfully and prepare you for the road ahead.

1. Plan What You Can

Discussing estate planning and all it entails is not something that should happen without any planning. Make a list of topics and questions, then let your parents know what you want to chat about with them.

If possible, set a time and date and choose a private venue that everyone will feel comfortable in. Be aware that you may need to schedule a few conversations as there could be too much to cover in one sitting. Remember to use language that’s respectful and supportive, and to take a breather if emotions run high or the stress becomes overwhelming.

2. Identify Key People

There are several key people you may need to contact for estate planning purposes. Ask your parents for the names and contact details of their:

3. Address the Topic of a Will

Determine whether there is an existing will in place and whether the document is up to date. If a will was created more than five years ago, check to see if they’d consider reviewing it to ensure it’s a true reflection of their wishes. Establish where they keep the document and confirm who they’ve appointed as the executor/s.  The same goes for any trust that may have been created.

4. Talk About Power of Attorney

Find out whether your parents have appointed someone to manage their financial and other affairs if they become incapacitated. If they haven’t given someone power of attorney, suggest they consider doing so.

5. Discuss End-of-Life Wishes

Even though the subject may be uncomfortable to talk about, you should discuss your parents’ end-of-life wishes with them. Their estate plan will be incomplete without these directives, so it’s important to include them. The form those directives take depend on the state in which you live, and they may include:

6. Ask About Insurance Policies

Talk about the type of insurance policies in place. That includes:

In some cases, there may be seniors funeral insurance or other policies intended to cover funeral or burial payments. You’ll need to know about these too and have all their details.

If you haven’t already done so, take note of the names and contact details of the insurance brokers. Check where the policy documents are kept, and if possible, make certified copies of them.

7. Request Access to Tax Returns

It can be helpful to know where tax return paperwork is stored. While these documents may not be necessary after death, they could be required if the estate becomes complicated. Confirm where you can find these documents and that they’re all up to date.

8. Discuss All Other Practicalities

In addition to subjects such as power of attorney and insurance, there are several other practicalities you should include in your conversations.

Conclusion

Estate planning conversations are tough no matter how you tackle them. Try your best to be patient with your parents and transparent with other family members about what you’re doing. If you have siblings, invite them to be part of the conversation.

Accept that these talks can take time and avoid placing pressure on those involved to get it all done in a few hours. The smaller details are critical and should not be rushed. Lastly, always consult with an elder law attorney if you’re unsure about the legal aspects or implications of any of the points mentioned above. Family First Firm would be happy to help you and your loved ones plan for their future. Give us a call at 1-833-FL-SENIOR today.

We Can Help

Ensuring legal protection for you and your loved ones can be a challenging task, but we’re up to it! Contact us today, we’d love to hear from you.

Contact Us

Call Us

(407) 574-8125

Follow Us

See All News

Family First Firm Newsletter

Get vital legal updates, community news, recipes, fun facts and more.