Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Saturday, August 8, 2020

8 Tips for Having 'The Talk' with Elderly Parents

ElderAlthough estate planning can be emotional and often times uncomfortable, it is essential for every family. It is never safe to assume that everything will automatically be taken care of in the event of you or your parents' death.

In order to ensure that your family will be taken care of, you will need to have emotional, but necessary conversations. 

Below are eight tips to guide you in 'The Talk' with your elderly parents:

1. Plan what you can

  • It is important to discuss an estate plan and all of the details to ensure your parents estate will be taken care of in the event of their passing. 

2. Identify Key People 

  • Doctors
  • Attorney
  • Financial planner and/or accountant
  • Insurance brokers
  • Minister of religion
  • Closest friends

3. Address the Topic of a Will 

  • It is important determine whether your parents already have a will in place and if the document is up to date. If not, it is important that a will is created. 

4. Talk About Power of Attorney

  • Find out if someone has been appointed and if not, who the best choice is for this appointment. 

5. Discuss End-of-Life Wishes

  • This portion may be emotional, but it is important that their wishes are discussed as the estate plan will be incomplete without them. 

6. Ask About Insurance Policies

  • Health insurance – Medicare or private
  • Life insurance
  • Home insurance
  • Long-term care insurance
  • Disability insurance

7. Request Access to Tax Returns

  • Although these documents may not be necessary after death, it is important to know where they are located just in case. 

8. Discuss All Other Practicalities 

  • This includes:
    • Make a list of their accounts – financial accounts such as bank and mutual fund, credit accounts, and store accounts
    • Check if they are registered organ donors or whether they would consider donating their organs
    • Talk about the memorial service they want and whether they want to be buried, cremated, or some other option.

These conversations will likely be tough and emotional no matter what strategy or plan you use, but patience and transparency are keys to ensure an effective estate plan. With the right people and the right setting 'The Talk' can be done effectively. 

See Ellen Klein, 8 Tips for Having 'The Talk' with Elderly Parents, Elder Law Answers, July 28, 2020.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/trusts_estates_prof/2020/08/8-tips-for-having-the-talk-with-elderly-parents.html

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