As your loved ones grow older, ensuring their affairs are in order becomes increasingly important. One critical aspect of this is confirming that their estate plans are current. Estate planning is a process that involves making arrangements for the distribution of assets and the management of affairs after one’s passing.
Aging parents may already have estate plans in place, but reviewing and updating them is essential to reflect changing circumstances, laws and wishes. Below are the steps you can take to help ensure your aging parents’s estate plans are up-to-date and effective.
Initiate a conversation
The first step is to have an open and honest conversation with them. Discussing topics like finances and end-of-life planning may be uncomfortable, but it’s crucial to have these discussions while your parents are still in good health and can make informed decisions. Choose the right time and place for this sensitive conversation.
Also, understand that discussing these topics can be emotional for your parents. Therefore, approach the conversation with empathy and respect for their feelings and wishes. Most importantly, allow your parents to express their thoughts, concerns and desires. Listening to their perspective is essential in developing a plan that aligns with their wishes.
Review existing documents
Once you’ve initiated the conversation, it’s time to review the existing estate planning documents. This includes their wills, trust documents, powers of attorney, healthcare directives and other relevant legal papers.
Confirm that the named beneficiaries on financial accounts, life insurance policies, and retirement accounts are accurate and up to date. You should also confirm that your parents’ choices of executors (for their wills) and trustees (for their trusts) are still appropriate.
Updating your aging parents’s estate plan is an act of love and responsibility. But you don’t have to do everything alone; enlist the necessary legal support to streamline the process.