Estate planning is an important subject and it’s one that is never too early to consider. Unfortunately, for most people it also involves facing the subject of their own mortality head-on, and nobody likes that. For this reason, the older people get, the less likely they are to be willing to talk about estate planning, until it becomes too late and the estate gets held up in expensive probate procedures.
This can make it very important for you to open the discussion about estate planning with your elderly parent or loved one. It’s not an option; it has to happen, and if you take the right steps it doesn’t have to be a tough talk. Read some important advice on talking about estate planning, how to broach the subject, and how to keep the focus on where it should be: respecting their wishes.
Talking about Estate Planning
Talking about estate planning isn’t a subject that anyone really enjoys. Not only does it make the senior think about their mortality, it makes you have to face the fact that one day you’ll be living without them. Still, it’s important to have the discussion. Just keep it focused on the family, on the wishes of the senior, and on protecting their assets moving forward.
A Focus on Family
It helps to begin the conversation by focusing on the entire family rather than on the idea that someone will pass away one day. The estate plan is being put into place to protect people. Point out that there are a lot of scammers and predators out there who target senior citizens — creating an estate plan can help to protect them against these unscrupulous individuals and their finances.
A Focus on the Senior’s Wishes
Remember and remind the senior that the biggest reason to plan the estate is to focus on their wishes and desires, so that things are taken care of according to their concerns. An estate plan can include much more than a last will. It can include living trusts that are administered while they’re alive. It can include a living will and medical power of attorney to address health concerns. It can include financial power of attorney which can allow an extra layer of protection on assets.
Point out to your parent that these issues can become important, and can help you to protect their interests and desires.
Talk to a Professional
If your parent or elderly loved one seems resistant to discuss the issue, another thing you can do is talk to their doctor, insurance provider, or an elder law and estate planning attorney. Sometimes people will listen to a professional far more readily than they will a family member, and it could be the jolt that they need to get the discussion going.
At Stano Law, we help clients in the Cuyahoga County, Ohio, region with all of their estate planning needs, including wills, trusts, power of attorney and more. If you’re ready to begin the process or need help and advice, give us a call to schedule a consultation today!