Family Estate Planning: What your adult children want you to know
As modern medicine keeps us living longer, we find that roles may reverse where “help” from adult children can feel more like “parenting.” This dynamic can be difficult for parents but keep in mind, most often it stems from a place of love and concern for parents’ wellbeing. As parents, you spent years raising and supporting your children. Your adult children want you to know that as you grow older, they intend to support you in return.
Much like parenting, this support comes with worry. Adult children want to know that parents have “their affairs in order.” Yet, adult children are often met with resistance when approaching a parent to discuss “their affairs.” After all, our affairs are private. Yet having these conversations is important.
So, instead, let us reframe the subject as aging well and having a proper estate plan.
Here are some topics your children hope to discuss with you:
- Do you have a financial advisor?
- Do you have retirement benefits that pass to beneficiaries?
- Do you have Insurance policies, for the following issues and where are the policies kept?
- For health?
- For long-term-care?
- For life?
- Who do you intend the beneficiaries to be?
- Identify key people they may need to contact in the event of illness or incapacity, and how to contact them.
- Your attorney
- Your medical providers and physicians
- Your accountant
- Your minister of religion
- Do you have an estate plan?
- Where are the documents stored?
- Who prepared the documents?
- Are they updated?
- Do you have incapacity documents which name agents to assist with financial matters or healthcare-related decisions?
- Discuss your end of life wishes and burial wishes.
- Discuss health-related concerns and medical conditions.
- Discuss how your children may support everyday life.
Parents should do their best to be open to these conversations. In return, parents should ask their children to be patient and supportive. Fear of aging, uncertainty about the future, and a desire to keep financial matters private can make these conversations uncomfortable for most. Consider breaking the “talk” into mini sessions: one long round table discussion will be overwhelming. However emotional the subject may be, parents and adult children must engage in this critical discussion. Just as parents discussed the often-uncomfortable subject of the “birds and the bees” with their children, adult children must approach parents to discuss their estate plan so that are able to be supported by children while they age well.
Attorney Claudia W. Englisby, JD, LL.M
Disability Planning Partners, Inc.
Guiding families through all ages and stages of disability and estate planning.
JD is a designation for Juris Doctor, earned upon completing law school; LL.M. designation is earned upon completing a Mastery of Laws of which Attorney Englisby completed in Estate Planning and Elder Law.