If you have elderly parents, there are likely three generations in your family that all need estate planning: you, your parents, and your adult children. For those with elderly parents, there are important estate planning considerations:
- Your elderly parents may fear losing control of their finances and their lives. Proceed with caution and great respect.
- Your elderly parents may fear the onslaught of dementia. Gently support them in getting medical treatment and having open and honest discussions with the doctor.
- Sometimes, elderly parents attempt to hide symptoms of dementia because they are afraid and/or ashamed. Never shame. Always support.
- Elderly parents often deal with depression especially if they have failing health, the loss of a spouse, the loss of friends and siblings, and the loss of independence. Depression can be treated with medication. There is no reason anyone should suffer.
- Many elderly parents should not be driving, but they are hesitant to give up their driver’s license because it is the last line of defense in losing their independence. If your parents have a HIPAA release and your are authorized to do so, speak with your parents’ doctors about the driving issue.
- Talk to your elderly parents about estate planning. Gently ask what planning is already in place. If comprehensive and up to date planning is not in place, suggest that they meet with an estate planning attorney and offer to make the arrangements and drive them.
- Gently explain that if your parents don’t have powers of attorney for health care, you can’t help them with medical decisions and a court might have to intervene.
- Gently explain that if your parents don’t have powers of attorney for finances, you can’t help them with paying bills and taking care of day to day business. If they become too ill to take care of these matters themselves, the court will have to intervene.
- Court intervention is expensive, time consuming, an invasion of privacy, and public.
If you have questions about elderly parent estate planning considerations, consult with an estate planning attorney.
Legacy APC, A Trusts & Estates Law Firm is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.