As your parents age, you may take on a variety of tasks to help them make the most of their golden years. One of the most important tasks you may tackle is assisting them with their estate plan. Depending on how much planning they’ve already done, this could be as simple as a quick document review or as complex as a thorough estate plan. Either way, it’s a good time to talk to an estate-planning attorney and get started.
Let the team at Haygood, Cleveland, Pierce, Thompson & Short guide your aging parents through the estate planning process. We’ll make sure they have the documents and entities they need to reach their estate planning goals. Call us at 334-821-3892 now to set up a time to talk.
Look at What They Have So Far
To start, it’s important to know how much planning they have already done. While it’s recommended that all adults have some sort of estate plan in place, nearly half don’t have any estate planning done. The older you get, the more complex your estate planning needs are. For that reason, it’s likely that your parents will have a considerable amount of work ahead of them. Your attorney can use their current documents as a jumping-off point for the rest of their plan.
Prepare for Their Health Needs
An estate plan doesn’t just plan for death. It also prepares for the health and financial needs of people while they are still living. Your parents will need to do some serious thinking about what type of lifesaving care they want, who they want to make their healthcare decisions for them, and when they want care to be terminated. An advance healthcare directive outlines this and protects your parents’ wishes.
If your parents are likely to need assisted living services in the future, you’ll also want to consider this as you create their estate plan. There are ways to structure an estate plan so that their assisted living costs are covered by Medicaid, but this does require prior planning.
Discuss What They Want to be Done with Their Assets
This is what most people think of when they start estate planning. You’ll need to document all of your parents’ assets, an approximation of their value, and where they are located. They can decide who they want to receive each asset.
Depending on their goals, this may mean creating just a will or establishing a revocable trust, irrevocable trust, special needs trust, or other entity. Each option has its benefits, so a lot depends on the tax implications of each choice and how important it is to your parents to avoid probate.
Consider Their Final Wishes
This step can be very difficult to discuss with family members, so you may wish to have your parents discuss it with their estate planning attorney. They’ll need to think about how they want their remains to be prepared for burial, where they want to be buried if they want a traditional burial, and what type of funeral they want. Pre-planning can take a lot of stress off of surviving family members when they are grieving.
Help Them Understand Their Options
The estate planning process can be overwhelming for everyone, but it is often. especially stressful for aging parents. They may have limited knowledge of different types of planning tools and be confused by anything beyond a last will and testament.
Make sure you work with an attorney who is willing to take their time, explain things in a way your parents understand, and help them find the best solutions for them. Rather than immediately telling them their options and expecting them to choose from a long list, it can be helpful to find out first what they want to accomplish and then explain which solutions best meet those needs.
Start an Estate Plan with Haygood, Cleveland, Pierce, Thompson & Short
The earlier you begin estate planning, the easier it is to create an in-depth plan that meets your needs. At Haygood, Cleveland, Pierce, Thompson & Short, we can work directly with your aging parents to ensure that their estate plan accomplishes their goals. We know they’ve worked hard for everything they’ve earned, and we want to see it used in a way that fits their wishes. Get in touch or call us at 334-821-3892 to set up a consultation.