The baby boomers are getting older, and leaving behind their assets, businesses and family dynamics. As parents age, it is important for their children to start having conversations that sometimes can be difficult. The sooner you have those conversations, the easier it will be to confront the difficult issues that occur during the aging process.
Some of the topics that need to be discussed include the following:
1. If your health is compromised, how would you want to be taken care of? Do you want to stay home, and have a caregiver? Do you want to move in with one of the family members? Do you want to consider living in a senior care facility?
2. What assets do you own, and how are they titled? This is an especially difficult one for parents who have been private about this topic for most of their lives. In the long run, if the children don’t know about it now, they will have to go through the painstaking process of searching for information later. It’s possible that they might miss something, and that financial institutions may never be contacted. The funds could end up as unclaimed property of the state.
3. If there is a terminal situation, how do the parents want the children to handle decisions? Is the qualify of life more important than the quantity of life? Do you want to have hospice at home, or in a hospital? Who would you want to be contacted?
4. Have you done your estate plan? If they have, then the children should understand who is named as Trustee/Executor, and how the assets are going to be distributed. If they have not done any estate planning, then it would be imperative for the children to highly encourage them to do it now, before their health is compromised.
5. What type of burial or funeral instructions do you have? Would you want to be cremated? Do you want a wake? Do you want a memorial? What church would you like to have the service at?
6. What legacy do you want to leave behind? This is a tough question. But after some deep digging into your soul, it may be the most meaningful conversation a parent and child can have.
As a child, we are usually looking to our parents for advice and guidance. But at some point, the roles tend to reverse. The children need to take some initiative to discuss these hard topics with their parents and an estate law lawyer in Rolling Meadows, IL. This open communication will make the aging process less cumbersome and provide overall peace of mind, so that you all can spend more quality time together as a family.
Thanks to Bott & Associates, Ltd. for their insight into estate planning and helping your parents plan their estate.