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Estate Planning Wishes: Have You Had "The Talk" with Your Parents?

 Posted on May 14, 2015 in Beneficiaries

estate planning wishes, Illinois Estate Planning LawyerFamilies may find it uncomfortable discussing estate planning wishes with their loved ones. No one likes to consider the day when his or her parents will no longer be around. However, not discussing one's estate planning can have serious consequences. It is an all-too-common scenario when a person passes away—or becomes seriously incapacitated—without ever making important legal decisions.

If your elderly parents have not addressed these decisions, it is important to sit down with them and make plans to consult with an estate planning attorney to ensure their wishes are carried out. This is not always easy since parents often feel that these matters are private ones, even with their own children. They may also not want to make these plans because it reminds them of their own mortality. Yet keeping these factors in mind when approaching parents can help make the conversation easier.

One of the most important issues that should first be addressed are the plans regarding the care of your parents in the future. Questions such as whether or not the funds are available for them to live comfortably, as well as what plans are in place should long-term or permanent placement in a medical facility should become necessary, need to be answered. There should also be a medical directives in place, including someone appointed to make healthcare decisions should the need become necessary.

Once you have established medical and future care decisions with your parents, it is also important to really understand what your parents' wishes are; not only for medical end-of-life decisions, but also how they want their assets and property divided once they have passed. Sit down with your parents and gather all account and asset information. Check on who is listed as beneficiaries and make sure that these are still the individuals of whom your parents want these items divided.

Your parents will need to decide on a power of attorney to handle their finances should they become incapacitated. This is different than the medical power-of-attorney, but it is just as important. At the very least, your parents should have a will in place and may also want to consider setting up trusts in order to help alleviate any tax consequences for which their beneficiaries may be responsible.

If you or your parents need to address estate planning wishes, please contact an experienced DuPage County estate planning attorney—the first step to ensuring that the correct documents are drawn up to protect your family's future.

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