Aging is an inevitable reality of life. But while we understand that it is out of our control, it can still be difficult to watch out parents getting up there in age. Only compounding that difficulty is broaching the topic of death and the financial truths that are associated with it. We tend to bring up what to do next when we are already in the throes of a high-stress crisis. According to the Public Broadcasting Service, this happens 85 percent of the time. Families react to what is going on when it happens, rather than proactively plan for it. By starting the conversation earlier and discussing important financial questions with your parents, it can help everyone.
Process Your Own Emotions – Then Check Them at the Door
Talking to your parents about death and finances can be quite emotional. No one likes to think about losing his or her parents, but unfortunately for all of us it’s going to happen some day. It’s better to be prepared than not. Prepare yourself for the conversation and process your emotions so that when you sit down for the discussion you can help to make logical decisions rather than emotional ones. If you are more comfortable talking about the subject matter, your parents will be as well.
Prior to the discussion conduct your own research so that you have a clear understanding of the options available to them and you can present those options accurately. It’s important to keep in mind that everything may not be solved in one sitting, but it is still an important step in the right direction, leaving the door open for further conversations.
Ensure That Your Parents Have Critical Documents in Place
There are two extremely important legal documents that it is important for your parents to have in place. The first is a durable power of attorney and the second is a healthcare proxy. These two documents are so important because they give a designated individual the legal authority to make legal, financial, and health care decisions for them should your parent be unable to do so.
When an individual does not have a durable power of attorney in place and your parent becomes incapacitated, you would have to go to court in order to be given the legal authority to become your parent’s guardian. This can be a long and complicated process, which is why it is best to have these documents prepared. If your parents do not have them, an elder law attorney can help to draft them.
It is also equally important that your parents review any retirement account information, insurance policies, and their wills to ensure that they still want to keep their designated beneficiaries in place. It is smart to review these documents annually.
Construct a Plan for Long-Term Care
Most seniors will need some form of long-term care as they age. The cost of this can be overwhelming. It is important to address this plan with your parents. Medicaid can cover some costs as can some life insurance companies, but nothing will cover the long-term care costs.
Speak with your parents about plans for how to pay for their care as they age. It is better to speak with them while they are younger and healthier. Planning now can help reduce stress, confusion, and complications later on.
For help constructing a long-term care plan as well as a will, durable power of attorney, and other important legal documents, call us today! We can help to make those difficult conversations easier.