Your Parents' Estate Plans
Estate planning can be a difficult subject to discuss with your parents. You don’t want to seem concerned about how much money they may eventually leave you, while they may fear you are interfering with their finances. But to help ensure their estate is settled quickly according to their wishes, family members should have some basic information. You don’t need to know the specifics about who will receive what, but you should find out:
Where important estate planning documents are located. Don’t ask for specifics, just make sure documents are in place so their wishes will be carried out. Find out if they have a durable power of attorney and a health care proxy. With a durable power of attorney, they designate someone to control their financial affairs if they become incapacitated. If your parents are concerned this person may assume control prematurely, suggest leaving the document with their attorney, who can deliver it to the appropriate person when necessary. A health care proxy delegates health care decisions to a third person when your parent is unable to make those decisions. Usually, this document also outlines procedures to be used to prolong life.
How to contact their advisors. Ask for a list of names, addresses, and phone numbers of lawyers, accountants, and financial advisors.
Their rationale for distributing their estate. Often, when heirs understand why an estate is being distributed in a particular manner, it can prevent problems among those heirs. If your parents are reluctant to discuss these things now, suggest they leave a personal letter with their estate-planning documents explaining their rationale for distributions. This is a good place to explain unequal bequests or large charitable contributions.
Preferences for the future. Find out where your parents would like to live if they’re not physically able to live in their current home. Do they want to move in with relatives or live in an assisted-living facility? Discuss in detail what procedures they want performed to prolong life in the event of a terminal illness. Determine their preferences for funeral arrangements.
While these topics are sometimes not easy to discuss, they are important to know to ensure that your parents’ estate is properly handled.
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This newsletter was prepared by Integrated Concepts Group, Inc. The opinions expressed in this newsletter are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual. It is suggested that you consult your financial professional, attorney, or tax advisor with regard to your individual situation. The views expressed are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those held by PlanMember Securities Corporation. Material presented is believed to be from a reliable sources and PSEC makes no representation as to it accuracy or completeness.