How to Have 'The Talk' with Your Elderly Parents

At The Dorcey Law Firm, PLC, we understand that estate planning can be a difficult subject to discuss, especially with your elderly parents. However, it is important to make sure your parents have a will and other estate planning tools that will limit the emotional strain and stress after they pass away. Here are a few tips to consider if you if you are planning to discuss estate planning matters with your elderly parents.

Tip #1: Plan What You Can

Having “the talk” with your parents is something that should be planned. We tell clients to make a list of the various topics and questions they want to cover. You should also choose a date and time for the conversation that is convenient and at a location where everyone feels comfortable. You might have to schedule several conversations because it might be too much to get through in just one meeting.

Tip #2: Identify & Contact Key People

There are several important people in your parents’ lives that you will need to contact for estate planning purposes. Ask your parents for the names and contact details for the following:

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

Tip #3: Discuss the Will

One goal of this discussion should be to determine if your parents have an existing will and whether it is up to date. If their will was created more than five years ago, then you should ask if they’re willing to review and possibly update it to reflect their current wishes. You also ask where they keep the will and who they’ve appointed as the executor.

Tip #4: Ask About Power of Attorney

In addition to talking about the will, you should also ask your parents if they have drafted a power of attorney and appointed someone to manage their financial affairs if they become incapacitated. If your parents haven’t established power of attorney, then you should strongly urge them to seriously consider adding this crucial legal document to their estate plan.

Tip #5: Talk About End-of-Life Wishes

End-of-life wishes are always hard to discuss with elderly parents, however, it’s a talk that needs to happen. When discussing end-of-life wishes, you should ask your parents to include the following directives:

  • A health care proxy who can make medical decisions on their behalf
  • A medical or advance directive that states the type of care they would like and whether life support should be used to keep them alive or not.
  • A living will that includes specific instructions regarding the withdrawal or termination of life support under specific conditions.
  • Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST). This gives more explicit directives regarding the type of treatment your parents would or wouldn’t want.

Tip #6: Talk About Insurance Policies

You should inquire about the following insurance policies:

  • Disability insurance
  • Long-term care insurance
  • Home insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Health insurance

You should also take note of their broker’s name, write down their policy numbers, and make certified copies of important documents.

The Dorcey Law Firm, PLC is here to assist with all of your estate planning matters, so please reach out to us today if you need legal advice regarding asset and legacy protection. Call (239) 309-2870 or contact us online to set up a consultation today.

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