Why You Need to Talk to Your Aging Parents About Their Estate Plan


There comes a time when you will need to be certain that your parents’ estate plan is current and no revisions are necessary. This event may arise because one or both of your parents have recently sustained a major illness that has or could become life-threatening. Hopefully, you have communicated with your parents to understand their goals and wishes. 

This begins with understanding where your older parents are in their estate planning.

You want to know that they have met with their estate planning attorney to complete periodic legal reviews of their estate plan. Now, one of your goals is to ensure that in their most recent review is more in the nature of a “check-up” and not a significant update. 

Regardless of the review being a check-up or a major update, it is recommended that this review by your parents and you be completed with the assistance of a Florida attorney. It is important to help your parents to understand that this is not something to be put off.  Waiting until a major health crisis arises is not recommended because your parent may not be able to then communicate adequately or may have a condition such as dementia that could deprive him or her of the ability to reason. In addition, your parent may not then have the privacy to fully communicate with you and the estate attorney due to the parent’s confinement to a rehabilitation center or a hospital where other patients and their families may be listening.

Another reason to review your parents’ estate plan relates to your ability to keep abreast of their investments and their need for your financial assistance. Otherwise, your parents may be driven to make risky choices caused by medical debts or other financial stressors. Parents are often reluctant to disclose their financial needs to their children. This failure by your parents to communicate financial needs to you may lead to an issue that could otherwise be avoided with available planning options.

Remember, it is not just the elders’ last will and testaments that need review.

Your parents also need a review of their advanced directives that are necessary in the event. They sustain a disability. Your parents may need at a minimum durable powers of attorney, health care surrogate designations, and living wills. They will also need to be sure the person named as their agents are still available to assist if a health care need arises. 

We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. Encouraging your parents create or revise an estate plan is not always an easy conversation. Know that we are here as your local law firm ready to help you on this or an estate planning issue. Do not wait to contact us with your questions.