Here at Lovett & House Co., L.P.A., we often hear from sons and daughters who are calling with concerns about their elderly parents’ end of life arrangements. Over half of all Americans have nothing in writing; they have nothing delineating who inherits from them, how they’re going to manage their money as they age, and who is going to make emergency medical decisions for them if they can no longer make those decisions themselves.
We understand that elderly parents may not be entirely forthcoming about their arrangements or lack thereof. Because of this, it is extremely important to approach the topic with love, patience, and persistence.
So how do I talk to my parents about their end of life arrangements?
Most likely, you will not be able to tell your parents what to do. They may not respond well to that approach. The better approach is to ask questions. Usually, it’s best to be clear from the start that you love the parent. As we like to say at Lovett & House Co., L.P.A, the best estate plan is the one in which the last check bounces. You want your parents to enjoy the rest of their lives, but you also want to make sure that someone has the appropriate power in case key decisions need to be made. After you’ve laid that foundation, ask questions designed to discover where things stand:
- Do you have anything in writing? A will? A living will?
- Do you have a financial power of attorney?
- Do you have a healthcare power of attorney?
- Do you know what these instruments are? If not, maybe we should sit down and look at these together.
- How long ago did you see that attorney about your end of life arrangements?
- Do you have the documents or does the attorney have the documents?
- Does the attorney still practice? Is that attorney still alive?
- How are you going to pay for a facility if you can’t stay at home anymore?
These can be very tough questions, but it is important for the children of elderly parents to be involved in this process. These are real problems; in fact, most Americans will need some form of long term care before they die. It’s the single biggest financial risk that most folks face.
Are you ready to plan end of life care? We can help.
The lawyers at Lovett & House Co., L.P.A. have extensive experience with wills, estate planning, and Medicaid and nursing home planning. To learn more about any of these areas or for additional suggestions on broaching these topics with your family, contact us today.