Many of us are lucky enough to have our parents around long enough for them to know their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. If you are one of the blessed, consider yourself lucky. However, there is one thing that you may eventually have to face – a parent who should not live at home alone anymore.
As an Orange County elder law attorney, I highly recommend that you talk to your parents while they are still healthy and active. If you haven’t, and an unforeseen circumstance is pushing you to confront the situation, it’s going to be rough. There’s no need to sugar-coat this fact. Even if the elderly parent is perfectly amiable, there may still be a strong emotional reaction from the parent that comes along with losing one’s independence. Hopefully, the guidance we are providing will ease that path.
If you don’t expect your parents to react well to the suggestion of moving out of their home, solicit help from others. If your parent has had an injury, let their doctor know that it would be very helpful if he or she brought up the touchy topic up during a visit. In some families, parents won’t hear you – perhaps because they still see you as their child – but they will listen to someone else. Even if you are both saying the same thing!
Then, there is the “m” word – if you don’t know your parents’ financial situation, now is the time to learn. Even if your parents are able to maintain control over their financial affairs now, there is a high probability that you will need to help, or even be forced to take things over in the very near future. Approach the topic with the idea of preparedness. Tell them you’ve been been learning a lot about estate planning and the next step it appears your family should take is to begin looking at mom and dad’s financial affairs so that if one becomes incapacitated, someone can step in and manage things until the parent regains their health. It is always helpful to paint this conversation in a supportive and positive light.
Finally, one of the very best ways you can help your parents get their affairs in order is to set a good example yourself! Why not go ahead and get your own will or trust taken care of? That way, your loved ones won’t be in financial chaos if something happens to you. The added bonus is that it gives you a platform for having “the talk” with your parents.
Nearly every day we get calls from adult children who are bringing in a parent that needs help getting their healthcare and financial documents in order. Believe me; it is much easier for everyone if we can work together before a medical crisis has occurred.
Set a good example! Give us a call today at (949) 260-1400 and we’ll schedule a consultation so that you can discuss your planning needs and concerns. All of our estate planning here in Orange County is done on a flat-fee basis so there are no surprises.