No one likes to look ahead to the future and realize they are growing older and may eventually need help from their children, but aging is inevitable. As your parents grow older and become more dependent on the assistance of others, it’s a good idea to sit down with them to discuss their long-term plans and the elder law issues that could affect them. The longer they live, the more likely it will be that they will need the services of probate attorneys or elder law specialists in order to put their affairs in order.
Approaching Your Parents About Their Future
It can be difficult to discuss the future with your elderly parents, but it is crucial that you do this before they are incapacitated or can no longer make sound decisions for themselves. If you aren’t sure how to broach the subject, a consultation with a lawyer specializing in elder law issues could help. He or she can give you a list of topics to discuss with your family as well as some materials that they may be interested in reading.
The best time to approach your parents is now. By helping them address such issues as their wills, setting up an estate, and their wishes regarding end-of-life decisions, you are decreasing the chances that your family with have to work with a litigation lawyer in the future. You can approach this in a way that doesn’t seem threatening or accusatory if you admit that you are concerned that you won’t be able to care for them properly or that you don’t want their children or grandchildren squabbling over an inheritance. You can also increase their comfort level by meeting with them in their home, where they feel most comfortable.
Elder Law Topics For Your Parents To Consider
There are a variety of elder law issues you should discuss with your elderly parents and your siblings that could have a profound impact on everyone’s future, including:
Mobility issues such as whether your mother or father still has a driver’s license. If you are concerned that they shouldn’t be driving, make sure you have alternative arrangements available so that they don’t lose their independence. If they aren’t willing to give up their driver’s licenses, remind them that if they injure or kill someone, they will need a litigation lawyer to defend them and they could face steep penalties.
Will and estate issues include drawing up a current will and discussing whether they want to establish a trust for their heirs. There are several complex issues to take into consideration, particularly if your mother or father has a significant inheritance they will be leaving behind, so take the time to consult with probate attorneys who can draw up the appropriate documents.
Long term and end-of-life care concerns that should be discussed include where they want to live when they can no longer care for themselves, what their funeral arrangements are, and who should manage their money and property if they are incapacitated. Power of Attorney, Advance Directives and other options should be reviewed and discussed.
It’s never easy to talk about the challenges of growing older with your parents, but by doing so now, you can help them avoid potential elder law problems in the future.