As a parent with adult children, you want to be sure to have put together an estate planning package. This legal plan will protect you and your loved ones in the event that a disaster happens, and secure your children’s future after you are gone. A good estate plan will cover things such as what will happen to your property once you die, estate and inheritance taxes, how to avoid probate, your healthcare wishes, and what happens to your body after death. Once you have made these decisions, it is important to talk about them with your grown up kids. This can be more difficult than it sounds, since a lot of parents want to spare their children any worry or grief. You should also decide how forthcoming you want to be about your current financial situation. Here are 4 important conversations to have with your adult children.
- What kind of estate planning have you done and where can they find it? Tell your children if your estate plan includes a living will or trust, and who has been granted power of attorney. Give them information on how to contact your legal and financial advisors. Make sure that you tell them the exact location of your important financial and legal documents. If those documents are in a safe deposit box, make sure that someone other than yourself is authorized to access it! If you choose to, you may tell your children who will receive what in terms of your property and financial assets after you are gone.
- What are your healthcare wishes? In the event that you become incapacitated or terminally ill, your children should know what type of medical care you want done, and who will make medical decisions on your behalf. This can include at what point you would want life sustaining treatment to be ended, and whether or not you gave your health care agent the ability to sign a “Physician’s Orders on Life Sustaining Treatment” (POLST) on your behalf.
- What are your financial wishes for your medical care and treatment? Would you rather move to an assisted living facility or remain at home? Disclose your specific plans on how any future long-term care will be paid for, and who will take over the financial decision making if you become incapacitated. You should also discuss your wishes for funeral arrangements and costs.
- Should your children have an estate plan? Estate planning is an often neglected part of financial planning, and as a result, less than half of Americans have an estate plan in place. As a parent, you never want to think about something awful happening to your adult children, but nonetheless your children should be prepared in the case of an emergency, especially if your children have young kids of their own. A nomination of guardian is essential, and anyone with minor kids should seriously consider a will and a trust as well, to secure their children (your grandchildren’s!) financial security.
If you or your adult children want to start the estate planning process, please call Julie Richardson, an attorney for over 17 years. As a parent of a 10-year-old, she knows how confusing and overwhelming the whole planning process can be. During the one-hour, completely complimentary and zero-obligation meeting, she will take the time to educate you and help you make informed decisions about what is best for you and your loved ones. Just contact us at (209) 529-1085 or email us online. We look forward to hearing from you!