Talk with your parents about their estate plans

If you have aging parents in Lee County, it is a good idea to make sure that they have their estate plans in order. This can help to avoid a lot of headache and possible litigation when they pass. It may not be easy to get the conversation going with your parents. It is often awkward to bring up the subject because it involves talking about what will happen after they die. A good way to broach the topic is by casually telling your parents that you have been working on your estate planning and wondered if they have done theirs.

If they have not, offer to help them by explaining the basics that they need to know while planning their estate like living trusts, wills, medical directives and durable powers of attorney.

A living trust can be a great way to avoid the probate process after your parents die because all of their assets are distributed by their trustee. The trust can be set up and used while your parents are alive.

A will is a document that clearly defines your parents’ last wishes. Whatever they would like to see happen with their assets after their death, they can clearly write out on paper.

Medical directives are important because your parents can have a chance to decide how they would like to be treated in a medical situation or emergency where they cannot speak or make those decisions on the spot.

A Durable Power of Attorney works much the same as a medical directive, but instead of giving directions for medical care, it gives someone else the power to make decisions for your parents in the financial and legal realms when they cannot.

After discussing the basics of estate planning with your parents, it is a good idea to suggest that they talk with an estate attorney who can help them get their estate plans finalized.

Source: CBS Boston, “Helping Dad With Estate Planning,” Dee Lee June 14, 2013

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