McClellan Legal LLC Estate Planning & Tax Assessment Blog

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Do Your Parents Have An Estate Plan?

It is often considered a little taboo to discuss estate planning with your parents.  Even if you do not consider it taboo, some find it awkward to bring up a topic with family members that focuses on incapacity, death, and money.  Some people ask their parents about estate planning and get a simple answer in return..."Don't worry, we took care of that years ago!"  or "It's all settled, there's no need to worry."  


The problem is that children should worry because children are often burdened by a parent's lack of planning.  Children are called upon to help their parents during their incapacity and to administer their estate.  Without proper estate planning, children will be burdened with unnecessary delays, costs, taxes, and stress. 


Here are couple points to consider when talking to your parents about estate planning:

·         Acknowledge that you are not trying to tell them what to do, but are only trying to remind them that planning may reduce the burden on the family and increase the chances that their wishes are honored

·         Think about bringing up the subject by discussing your own estate plan or by discussing a topic in a recent estate planning article

·         Do not go behind your sibling's back to assist you parents

·         Ask your parents where they store their estate planning documents so that  you can get access to the documents when it is time to implement the plan (often children are unable to find the will, power of attorney, etc.)

·         You may want to simply ask them when was the last time they had their estate plan reviewed (very old plans are often worse than no plan at all)

A simple discussion about estate planning may save you and your family a tremendous amount of time and money down the road.  Also, for those of you with adult children, it may not be a bad idea to bring up estate planning with your children.  Again, it will be your children that will likely be responsible for administering your plan and advising them of their roles will be very helpful.  Your discussion will also allow you to educate your adult children on the importance of estate planning.


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