Back in 2012 I posted a blog about talking to your parents about their estate plan. I called it “5 Questions to ask YOUR parents about their estate plan.” I encourage you to read it before reading on….
The key here is that it’s a sensitive thing and, often, when dealing with your parents it can be tough. Heck, they are your elders, your respect them, you don’t want to look like a gold-digger. The 5 questions I posted back in 2012 are:
1) What estate planning documents do you have in place?
2) Can I have a copy of your trust?
3) Who are the financial decision makers in your estate plan?
4) At what age are the assets distributed to the kids?
5) Are all of your assets actually titled in the trust?
Let’s ask five MORE questions. That is, here are 5 more questions to help you help them help you!
1) So, the first question can be asked another way which is “have you done any estate planning?” or “What estate planning have you done?” The key is getting the conversation started. I think this is a good way to break the ice.
2) Do you have health care documents in place and do they have the latest HIPPA language? Ya, I talk about financial stuff a lot on my blog but don’t forget the medical. Hippa can be a killa’ so make sure your parent’s documents are current!
3) Do you have long term care insurance or other protections in place? In case you didn’t hear the rumor long term care can break the bank! Good insurance can protect them… which ends up protecting you.
4) How is stuff set up for my spouse and/or children? I like to look at estate planning as a multi-generational, or communal, thing. What your parents do affects you and what you do affects your spouse and kids. Plan it all together!
5) How about I pay for it? Let’s face facts. A lot of elderly people, especially depression (or near depression) era people are a little tight with their money. There is nothing wrong with that but sometimes you have to spend money to make money. Get their estate planning done! You’ll save yourself money in the long run!
Ask these five, and my previous 5, or some combination thereof and you should get the family conversation started… or be uninvited to Thanksgiving dinner and disinherited. (Just kidding)