Fox 5 NY says in the article “Why estate planning is important regardless of your age or wealth” that this is great time to begin talking to your loved ones about estate planning, especially older relatives and parents.
The key to a successful discussion depends upon the right approach.
Try to always make suggestions, rather than demands. One great way to start the conversation with family members, is to mention what you’re doing. You might say something like, “I just took care of my own estate planning. Have you done anything? Maybe we should talk about it.” That might get the conversation rolling.
Many people believe that, as they get older, they need a will. However, that’s just one piece of the puzzle: core estate planning includes a will, power of attorney, health care surrogate and asset protection.
For most of us, the asset we most want to protect is our home. One of the best ways to do that is through a trust. Depending upon the type of trust you use, it may also have tax advantages, could protect your home during a healthcare crisis and protect your home from your children’s creditors.
You also need to find people you trust to help with finances and health care. A power of attorney is a legal document in which you grant a person the authority to handle finances on your behalf.
Similarly, a healthcare surrogate is an individual who makes healthcare decisions, if you get sick or are in an accident and can’t make decisions for yourself.
You can use one person to do both or separate individuals for each role. You can opt for a family member or a trusted friend. However, either way it should probably be a younger person, who won’t be dealing with the same aging issues as you.
You should also note that your will doesn’t cover everything. Make certain that any beneficiaries designated in your retirement plans or life insurance and any additional names on joint bank accounts are current. The beneficiaries you appointed by a designation form will get the money in those accounts, no matter what it says in your will.
If all of this sounds a bit complex, don’t worry because an experienced estate planning or elder law attorney can help you with all of the forms and all of your questions. Just understand these three things before you visit an elder law firm: your assets, whose names are on the accounts and your wishes.
Reference: Fox 5 NY (December 12, 2018) “Why estate planning is important regardless of your age or wealth”