Posted by Eric P. Rothenberg –
No one likes to discuss their own death, as if talking about it will somehow hasten it, or not talking about it might prevent it from happening! By encouraging your parents to prepare for the end of their lives, you are not only acting as a responsible and loving child, but you are saving time, money, and heartache for yourself and the rest of your family. All parents want to leave their children as much as they can as a legacy, and that’s precisely why estate planning is beneficial to them as well.
A short answer: if they become incapacitated before signing a durable power of attorney or their will, you are out of luck and their estate will pass under intestacy laws [when there’s no will].
In approaching your parents next time, it may be best to remind them that while making end-of-life arrangements is for them, it’s even more for you (and your possible siblings). The illness and death of loved ones is trying enough, even under the best of circumstances. Ask your parents to think about making end-of-life plans as another way to care for their children. If you explain to them that they will not lose control of anything, they are more likely to say yes to a devising a plan. There are so many estate planning vehicles that can be used from simple to complex. For ex., just adding a child on their main bank account as a co-signer, so that bills can be paid and food and medicine bought during incapacity, doesn’t mean that child gets to keep the remaining funds upon death and yet it provides funds to take care of them during that difficult time.
Only with the proper planning and documents in place can you and your parents be sure that their last wishes will be honored, their assets protected, and the most passed on to their children. These are complicated issues that cannot be resolved with online legal templates.
Come in with your parents to discuss with us how we can plan together for their final affairs. It may help to have someone other than a family member lay out the benefits of planning ahead.