Typically, an estate plan includes accommodations for your spouse, children, grandchildren and even future generations. But you may overlook some older family members, such as your parents or in-laws. They may also need your financial assistance and help with their estate planning.
How can you best handle the financial affairs of parents in the later stages of life? Incorporate their needs into your own estate plan while tweaking, when necessary, the arrangements they’ve already made. Here are five critical steps:
Identify key contacts. Just like you’ve done for yourself, compile the names and addresses of professionals important to your parents’ finances and medical conditions.
List and value their assets. If you’re going to be able to manage the financial affairs of your parents, having knowledge of their assets is vital. It would be wise to keep a list of their investment holdings; IRA and retirement plan accounts; and life insurance policies, including current balances and account numbers.
Open the lines of communication. Before going any further, have a frank and honest discussion with your elderly relatives, as well as other family members who may be involved, such as your siblings. Make sure you understand your parents’ wishes and explain the objectives you hope to accomplish.
Execute documents. Assuming you can agree on how to move forward, develop a plan incorporating several legal documents. If your parents have already created one or more of these documents, they may need to be revised or coordinated with new ones. Some elements commonly included in an estate plan are:
Estate planning for elderly parents, which is complex in its own right, is often intertwined with your own finances. Contact us for help developing a comprehensive plan that addresses all of your family’s needs.