It is so much easier to put an estate plan into place, regardless of the size or value of an estate, than it is for grieving family members to deal with courts and businesses afterward.
The unexpected death of a beloved parent is difficult enough for family members. However, when there has been no prior planning, the family must first navigate the legal and financial system before they can even begin to mourn their loss. One instance of what can go wrong is provided by the story of a family was forced to leave their mom, while she was dying in the hospice, to try and organize the paperwork done for her estate.
An estate plan is a guide for your family. A good estate plan will include not only a will but also a health care power of attorney and a living will.
Work with an experienced estate planning attorney and try even harder to get everyone to the table to discuss the issues. One way to approach aging parents is to say, “You would be helping me if you could write this down.” Many regret not taking action sooner to save stress and energy. “You have every emotion you could ever have because you are about to lose your loved one and you have to deal with everything else on top of it,” one woman commented. It’s not easy to bring up these conversations with aging parents and they may often wave your questions away. However, if you and other family members can persist, you may find yourselves having unexpectedly productive—and even heartwarming—conversations.
Meet with an experienced estate planning lawyer and prepare the documents that are needed, including a will, power of attorney, medical power of attorney and others, depending upon your personal situation. Aging parents should discuss with family members what they would like to happen if they become incapacitated or when they die and work together to create a plan. This allows the family to care for each other during the mourning process when the parent passes.
Estate planning truly is a gift to those we love.
Reference: WSAV (February 26, 2019) “Family warns others to not put off estate planning”