Estate planning is an important part of preparing for the future. However, even if you already have an updated Will and have discussed Power of Attorney wishes with your loved ones, you may be surprised that not everyone in your family is as organized. A recent survey from the website Caring.com found that only 40% of Americans have estate planning documents, such as a Will or Living Trust. That leaves 60% of adults risking the serious repercussions of not sharing their final wishes.
Unfortunately, part of that 60% could be your aging parents or in-laws. In order to prevent court intercession or costly court fees, it is important to encourage your aging loved ones to assure their estate is in order. It can feel like a difficult conversation to start, but it will be worth the initial awkwardness in the long run.
To bring up the topic of estate planning, ask questions. The next time you are over for dinner, simply ask your parents if they have an updated Will or Living Trust. While it may shock them at first, it will open up some honest dialogue.
Share Your Worries
If your loved ones don’t have current estate planning documents, share what concerns you about that scenario. Tell them that without a Will or Trust, the court would force one party to dispose of the assets and that may not be the manner or wishes the deceased would have wanted. This situation can cause stress for remaining family members, and paying the legal fees will come out of the estate.
Remember to Talk About Healthcare
Estate planning isn’t just about the financial side of things. In fact, a major part of estate planning includes directives about healthcare and end of life decisions. Encourage your loved one to share their end of life wishes with someone they trust, and to appoint a Healthcare Power of Attorney (as well as a Financial Power of Attorney). Also, consider talking with their attorney about a Living Will to document their wishes.
You Don’t Have to Know Everything
Some people are very secret when it comes to financial information, and your loved ones may be as well. Remind them that you are not inquiring about estate planning to learn about their financial situation, but you just want to be sure they have a say in their final wishes.
Send Them to Us
At Gandhi Selim Law, we have years of experience drawing up estate planning documents, and counseling our clients through these delicate decisions. If your loved ones have questions, or if they are hesitant to talk more about their estate with you, encourage them to set up a free consultation with our team. We can handle nearly every estate planning situation and are ready to partner with them as well.