There is an uneasy transition that happens as parents get older. Their children begin telling them what to do. For some parents, they're not ready to give up the control over their own decisions or accept the advice of their children. So, how do you talk to parents about estate planning?
Failing to draft an estate plan can mean a pair of obstacles when a parent dies. First, it can leave you scrambling to unravel their financial picture while trying to grieve. Second, it can be expensive.
MarketWatch’s recent article entitled “It’s easy to put it off, but here’s why you should talk to your parents about estate planning, and how to start the conversation” says that a wise way to avoid both scenarios is to begin talking with your parents about estate planning. While this can sound like a job just for the uber-rich, it is really an essential process that ensures clear directives exist for all sorts of situations that accompany the end of life.
An estate plan is a chance to set mindful intentions about life’s inevitabilities. It is, therefore, a great idea to ask your parents to take account of their assets and belongings. This is not just about the numbers and paperwork—it is a chance to gauge preparedness.
Start by asking your parent(s) the following:
It's been said that the failure to plan is a plan to fail. And in estate planning, this is an absolute truth. If you have no plan, the state has a plan for you, which will involve the court process known as probate. If you only have a will, then that will require probate. However, if the right legal documents are in place, it can be a relatively quick and painless process.
When someone dies intestate (without a will), it can sticky and get tricky. Understand that the state has its own rules for dying without a will. And in this instance, you will need to hire a probate attorney because there will be legal proceedings and an attorney is required in Florida. Therefore, make certain that your parents have a plan in place that reflects their wishes, especially if one of those is to avoid probate. Also important is making sure that beneficiaries are clearly stated in all policies and documents. It is a preventative measure that can pay dividends.
Remember that when wealth is transferred (or assets are passed from one person to another), taxes are often inevitable. Work with an experienced estate planning attorney to minimize liability.
Reference: MarketWatch (Dec. 29, 2021) “It’s easy to put it off, but here’s why you should talk to your parents about estate planning, and how to start the conversation”
Suggested Key Terms: Estate Planning Lawyer, Wills, Intestacy, Probate Court, Inheritance, Asset Protection, Probate Attorney, Estate Tax, Beneficiary Designations