The lack of an estate plan may come to light when an aging parent experiences a medical emergency. As noted by U.S. News, adult children may take steps to establish powers of attorney before their parents develop cognitive impairment.
A medical advance directive generally provides instructions regarding an individual’s health care. It allows you to communicate with a parent’s physician or nurse. Creating a medical advance directive could help keep parents living at home rather than in a residential care facility.
Discuss access to financial affairs
While an estate plan often centers on a will or trust, preserving family assets may begin with creating a durable power of attorney. Aging parents may need help with their financial affairs.
With a POA, a parent may name an individual to serve as a personal representative. The designated representative could then access bank and retirement accounts. Most financial institutions, utilities and government organizations offer online account access and bill-paying services. The individual named in a POA may take care of payments and filings for an aging parent.
Caregiving discussions help make well-intentioned motives clear
You could approach an aging parent with estate plan concerns by asking about the healthcare treatment he or she prefers to receive. The Tampa Bay Times notes that asking parents about their health care preferences could help ease into a productive conversation.
Parents may create documents outlining how to care for them during possible incapacitation. Surgery, for example, may require a stay at an assisted living center for rehabilitation. Estate plans may also include information about taking care of pets.
When parents have not created estate plans, adult children could approach them before an illness or injury occurs. Parents may need someone to help with personal matters; they may choose a trusted adult child to help handle their financial and health care affairs.