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How to discuss long term care and estate planning with your parents

On Behalf of | Oct 6, 2021 | Estate Planning |

The topic of estate planning is often uncomfortable for people to discuss. This is because it can bring up thoughts about aging, death, and losing the ability to take care of yourself in the future. The best way to prepare for this conversation is by having an open or positive attitude towards it. 

When you can talk with your parents about long-term care plans or estate planning in a way that they listen and respond positively, you have made a great step in helping them start this process. Long-term care costs can quickly add up, so it’s important to talk with your loved ones about this topic if they are aging and could potentially need these services in the future.

Questions to consider

When preparing to talk to your parents about long term care and estate planning, consider the following questions

  • What estate planning have they done so far? – It is important to find out if they have already begun the process. Do they have a will? Do they have a trust? Have they named a beneficiary, or do they have a “transfer-on-death” feature in place for accounts? 
  • What long-term care plans have they done so far? – Advance care planning should take a comprehensive approach. Have they begun this process in the past? Do they have a durable power of attorney in place for health care decisions? Have they considered organ donation? What about a do not resuscitate (DNR) order? 
  • Where are their personal and legal documents located? Anything they have that could help the estate planning process and long-term care should be located and secured. 
  • What are their wishes for long-term care? – Do they have long-term care insurance? What does their health insurance cover, and what are the deductibles? 
  • Do your parents have any specific wishes for their funerals? It is important to ask if they have purchased burial plots or made other arrangements such as buying burial insurance. 

When approaching the subject with loving-kindness, being prepared can help give you confidence. If you have not considered having professional guidance in getting your parents’ affairs in order, now may be the right time.