Just as everywhere else in the country, folks in Orange County often put off their estate planning for many reasons. Whether it’s facing your own mortality, or that of your parents, the prospect of needing a will or trust isn’t something that many of us want to think about. The reality, though, is that when we continue to put off the estate planning process, things only tend to get more complicated.
Considering a parent’s need for estate planning may not be a pleasant thought, but it is so very important in ensuring that they are taken care of. After all, it’s not just about what they will leave behind after death, it’s also about how those Golden Years can be spent. Estate planning lawyers in Orange County certainly handle wills and trusts, but they also help with planning for retirement, moves into retirement communities, and more.
It may be up to you to start this conversation with your aging parents, especially if they have not yet started their estate planning. But, how do you approach the “elephant in the room?” One of the best approaches is to have a good amount of information that you can bring to them about the benefits of planning. Sure, having their plans in order will make your life easier later, but it’s also about giving Mom and Dad a say in their own futures…and you want to make that known from the start.
Having Their Say
If your parents don’t take care of estate planning now, many choices will eventually be taken out of their hands. In some cases, a parent might think that’s fine because they trust you to make decisions, but what they might be overlooking is the fact that the courts may decide you are not the person that should be in charge of your parents’ well-being. Medical decisions and financial management are just a couple of the areas that could be designated to whomever the courts feel is appropriate. That person may not be you, and that person may not have your parents’ best interests at heart.
Let’s be honest, even though you love your parents, there are some choices you would really rather not have to make, too. By getting them in to meet with an estate planning lawyer, you can give them the opportunity to make the choices—in advance—that they might be unable to make later.
For example, a living will would give them the opportunity to determine what courses of action they do and do not want taken in a medical situation. It’s also completely reasonable for them to have a say in which nursing home or retirement community they would prefer. If these choices aren’t made in advance, there’s a possibility of losing the ability to make them later when physical or cognitive abilities have declined.
Woven in to all of these considerations is the fact that your parents will likely want to leave some sort of legacy. A legacy doesn’t have to be a multi-million dollar trust fund, in fact, it rarely is. Instead, the legacy could be a combination of important items, money, and a set of values that they want to pass on to future generations. An Orange County estate planning lawyer can help them find realistic ways to make this happen.