Estate planning discussion can open up other important topics

Residents of New York with aging parents already have a host of issues to worry about. One matter it's important not to let fall by the wayside, though, is that of estate planning and financial issues. While money matters can be an especially difficult subject to broach, it can be crucial to discuss the topic early to help avoid potential pitfalls and even possible future conflicts.

A good starting point for discussing such matters might be to ask about parents' plans for retirement. The discussion can include whether the aging parents' hope to downsize to a smaller home, stay where they are now, or perhaps relocate to a retirement community, and how their current financial status may affect their decision. This would then be a good time to bring up long-term care, as unforeseen potential health issues could affect these plans. As a family, children can ask about parental wishes on issues like nursing homes, in-home care and assisted living facilities.

Discussing long-term health may then turn the conversation to that of living wills and powers of attorney. Children can try to impress upon aging parents the essential nature of a living well or advance health care directive, as such a document can prove essential in helping loved ones follow wishes for medical decisions if an individual becomes incapacitated. Likewise, establishing power of attorney will ensure a trusted individual can make financial and legal decisions in the unfortunate event that a parent becomes unable to do so him or herself.

This conversation about living wills may naturally segue into that of wills and estate planning. If elderly parents already have a will, children may wish to make sure it has been updated recently or that it still reflects their parents' current wishes. If not, individuals may wish to consult an estate planning lawyer in New York, especially one who has experience in working with aging individuals and the particulars of elder law.

Source:, "Managing Your Parents' Money and Discussing Tough Topics", Jerry Shaw, Dec. 21, 2017

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