Many Missouri residents put off their estate planning because they don’t want to talk about things like wills and health care powers of attorney. However, the consequences of not having an estate plan can negatively impact people during their lifetime and create problems for their beneficiaries.
If you know that your parents have no estate plan, now is a good time to talk to them about it. Although estate plans can be a sensitive subject, you can find ways to make the conversation empowering.
Let your parents know you want them to be in charge
A person who falls ill or dies with no estate plan is not in charge of their health care or their wealth. When you talk to your parents, you can start off by saying that you want to make sure that their wishes are understood and respected by the people around them. That way, if anything happens to them, their caregivers will have instructions about what to do.
When it comes to certain health care and end-of-life issues, we sometimes don’t know what our loved ones want. Even the people closest to us may not have let us know how much medical intervention they would prefer or who they want to care for them if they are incapacitated.
Help your parents choose their powers of attorney
Agents under powers of attorney will be able to step in and make decisions on their parents’ behalf if they become incapacitated. Choosing them is one of the most important ways that a person can be empowered in their estate planning.
Your parents may choose one or more people to be designated as their health care and financial attorneys-in-fact. It’s important that, while they are healthy, your parents get to make those decisions themselves.
Let your parents know about the financial benefits of wills and trusts
The money side of things can be uncomfortable for some people to talk about. However, a good way to broach the subject is to let your parents know what could happen to their assets if they have no estate plan. Without wills, beneficiary designations, and trusts, state laws of intestacy would govern, and they might not produce the results that your parents desired.