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Are You Clear About How Your Parents Estate Plan Will Impact You?
Do you know if your parents have an estate plan? If so, is it up to date? It doesn’t matter if your parents are rich or poor, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, you should be asking them these questions and others. Unfortunately, none of us will live forever and when your parents become incapacitated or die, their affairs will become your responsibility and it will be too late to ask them questions. So, if you don’t if they have an estate plan in place, read on.
The Best-Case Scenario
The best-case scenario is that your parents have an updated estate plan in place and they’ve spoken to you about it. They have a completed inventory which lists everything they own, how it’s titled, and who it should go to and how and they have left it with their other estate planning documents in a place that is easy for you to find. On top of all that, it’s best if they’ve introduced you to the lawyer who set it all up, so you know who to turn to when the time comes.
If that is not the case for your parents, you may have some holes to fill. If they haven’t done any planning at all, now is the time to encourage them to get it done and to support them in any way you can.
If they do have an estate plan, it’s likely that it has not been updated in years and does not contain an Inventory of their assets. Their plan may even require complex actions that are no longer necessary upon their death due to more recent law changes. Worst of all, you may have no idea what your parents own or how to find their assets, and at their incapacity or death you’ll be left with a mess, even though your parents had good intentions and thought their planning was handled.
The Worst-Case Scenario
In a worst-case scenario (which we see more frequently than we’d like), your parents have an estate plan, but someone may have exerted undue influence over your parents’ decisions. This person may have led them to add or change something in their plan that they either didn’t really want to or wouldn’t otherwise have chosen to if they understood all of their options.
Either way, it’s critical for you to know who your parents have worked with to create their estate plan, and how and why they made the choices they did. If you aren’t in the know, now is the time to find out.
If you and your parents are already discussing these matters, you may want to ask if they would be OK with scheduling a family meeting with their existing attorney. On your parents’ request, that attorney should look forward to walking you through your parents’ planning, the choices they made, and how you will be impacted in the event of their incapacity or death.
It is always a good idea to develop a relationship with their estate planning attorney now. This advisor can be one of the most important supporters of you and your parents during your time of need. It’s a relationship you will want to establish before you need it, so you won’t be scrambling during a time of crisis.
If you need support to have these conversations with your parents, let us know. We can help.
This article is a service of The Solution Law Firm, P.A. We don’t just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That’s why we offer a Family Planning Session, during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before, and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by calling our office today to schedule a Family Planning Session and mention this article to find out how to get this $750 session at no charge.