We've all got to face it eventually. Our folks are aging. Perhaps their health isn't good. Maybe they are even really sick. The fact is they will not be with us forever.
How do we help them make preparations for what will unavoidably occur. Yes I mean when they are gone. Yes they do need a plan… An estate plan. And so do you for that matter.
But let’s concentrate on your parents for the moment.
Here’s some things to think about…
What will happen to your ma if your dad dies? Will she be capable of paying the bills? Will she have accessibility to all of the cash? Will she even know where all the money is?
What would occur if both of your folks die within a little while of each other? It’s a particularly common eventuality.
Do your parents have a will? Do they understand how important a will is? Do they understand what would occur if they died without a will… Called “intestate”?
What would happen if they couldn't make health care calls themselves? Who would do it? Would the courts have to become involved?
Who will pay for funerals and funerals?
There are several things to contemplate at the end of life. If your ma and pa do not have a plan then you may be the person who must sort things out. Or perhaps worse… The courts may be making all the calls for you. Is that what your mom and pop need to happen?
Yes when a person dies without a will their estate goes into probate and the courts decide what happens to all the assets. Going thru probate may take many months. Who pays the bills in that time?
Time For An Estate Plan
There are several things that your ma and pa should do to be prepared for the end of life.
They Require A Will
First they need to have a will. The will will stipulate precisely what will happen to all their assets when they die. If they want to ensure a certain kid gets the keys to the antique car your dad has been restoring they can do that. Without a will the courts will possibly divide everything similarly among family members. That might not be what your parents really want to occur.
Health Care Surrogacy
Second they should have a medical directive. Dependent on what state they live in this should be called a Health Care Proxy or a Health Care Surrogacy. This is a legal document that mentions who has got access to someone's medicare info. Doctor’s and nurses will only give that information to whomever has been announced as the legitimate agent. Legally they can't give that information out unless there's this document.
Part of this surrogacy might be a directive for what should happen if your parent gets put on life-support systems. This is known as a Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNRO). If someone has a terminal illness and should be put on life support, this document details what should occur. Of course you ought to have a serious discourse with your parents about this so you understand their wishes.
Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney gives somebody legal control over your parents finances. This person has the power to pay bills if your parent becomes incapacitated. Of course your parent’s “attorney in truth” should be selected smartly.
The Power of Attorney can be limited or general. A limited POA only grants specific capabilities and does not permit complete control.
These are some of the legal tactics for preparing an estate plan. Contact a good estate planning attorney to get all the details and help your mum and dad be prepared when the time comes.