The passage of time may have gone by quickly as you grew from a child to an adult. Now you may find that your parents are aging, you want to take good care of them. One way to ensure your parents are cared for in the manner they wanted, and that their wishes following their death are followed is through estate planning. The following are three steps you and your parents can do to plan for the inevitable.
Make sure your parents have a will and possibly a trust
If your parents die without a will or trust, their estate will be passed on to heirs per state laws of intestate succession. Basically, this means state statute decides who is to inherit, which may or may not be what your parents would have chosen. If your parents execute a will, they can pass their assets on to whoever they want. Moreover, if your parents execute a trust they can also include directions on how trust assets are to be distributed.
Designate a medical power of attorney and financial power of attorney
It may come to pass that your parent becomes incapacitated for a while before they pass away. They may fall into a coma or develop dementia or Alzheimer’s. In these situations, they will need someone to make health care decisions on their behalf and manage their finances. Through a medical power of attorney your parents can designate who they want to make health care decisions on their behalf if they become incapacitated, and through a financial power of attorney your parents can designate a person to manage their finances if they become incapacitated.
Execute an advance medical directive
When your parents are on life support, many difficult decisions need to be made. Should they be on a ventilator? Should they be fed through a tube? Should physicians attempt CPR to keep them alive? What would they have wanted? These topics can be addressed by your parents in an advance medical directive. This document outlines what end-of-life preferences your parents have, leaving out the guesswork during what is a difficult time.
Learn more about estate planning
Discussing estate planning with your parents can benefit both you and them. Your parents will rest assured that their preferences will be carried out, and you will not be left wondering what they truly would have wanted. This post is for educational purposes only and does not contain legal advice. Those who want to learn more about estate planning are encouraged to explore our firm’s website for further information on this important topic.