As a law firm that focuses on estate planning, veteran benefits and elder law, we come across families faced with a multitude of different problems on a regular basis. Most children take the approach that it is mom and dad’s money and they do not want to know about it. It is not until they are faced with a parent in the hospital or even the passing of another parent that they realize there are issues that have been masked or hidden.
While we firmly believe mom and dad worked hard for their assets and should spend their money the way that they want, we also believe that a plan should be in place that allows them to spend their money and at the same time receive the care that they need while following the wishes they laid out. A plan can be set up by mom and dad before a crisis occurs.
Sometimes, the kids have to initiate the conversation. The old ways of doing things usually do not work well, anymore. Your parents may believe that medical decisions can be made by family members, or that the best way to handle their finances is to add their kids’ names to their accounts. That belief can cause big problems. Life, laws and regulations have gotten more complicated over the years. Sometimes the kids need to help their parents understand that the way grandpa and grandma did it, may not work anymore.
Here Are 5 Reasons That You Should Care About Mom & Dad’s Money:
If you want even more information, keep scrolling to watch the webinar replay with Attorney Bob Mannor… (or click here.)
1. Allows parents to keep their independence
No parent ever wants to burden their children. If the proper estate planning documents are not prepared and a parent becomes ill or incapacitated, the children will need to go through the probate court process to get guardianship or conservatorship. Is it better to have the court appoint someone to make decisions for mom or dad or for the parents to give written instructions before they get sick to be followed by the family? It is mom and dad’s decision.
However, it helps if the attorney can facilitate a conversation with the relevant family members to design a plan to avoid a crisis or to deal with a crisis if it occurs. The parent’s control and decision-making is not taken away. Rather, it allows for more options because mom and dad have a plan that was created to allow them to remain in the environment that they chose.
2. Parent (with children’s involvement) can create a plan if something bad happens
Many families wait until something bad has happened to either mom or dad before they act. A crisis situation is when it becomes clear that mom or dad will need continuing care or assistance. Often there is no plan to deal with this. Our law firm helps people in crisis all the time, but we can get better results if the parents had planned ahead. By planning ahead, sometimes we prevent the crisis from ever occurring in the first place. A good portion of my clients in nursing homes could have avoided the nursing home altogether had they gotten the help that they needed before it was too late.
If a life plan is created there are numerous options available to the family. A life plan is an in-depth estate plan that will progress as mom and dad’s health conditions progress. It will allow them to remain in control, as long as possible. Also, it will allow parents to detail their intentions regarding the type of care they want, how to pay for the care and protect their quality of life. It provides security and guidance for the family when an unexpected health concern arises because there is already a path to follow. Mom and dad’s bills can continue to get paid and they can receive the care they need.
3. Opens options for receiving benefits
One thing that we hear over and over again is that families are unaware of the benefits that are available through the local and federal government and the Veteran’s Administration. These programs have been earned and are available, but these programs have restrictions. Many of the rules are easily met with proper planning. There are misconceptions out there that a person makes too much income or has too many assets to qualify for any help. However, most of the time the person simply needs to properly set up their estate so it allows them to qualify. These programs can help pay for care in their home, in a senior community, or at a nursing home.
4. Helps with estate maintenance and administration
If the estate plan is funded and designed correctly,post death administration for the family will be simpler. Most people feel that just because their parents have a will or trust that nothing else needs to be done. However, that is not the case. A trust, for example, is only as good as what was actually put in the trust. The bottom line is that there are many options out there. Why not make a plan that will have the greatest benefit to your parents while they are healthy, disabled, and after their passing?
5. Care about your parents’ money, because you care about your parents
It may come across as you only care about your inheritance, but in reality, you’re raising these questions because you care about your parents. By setting up an estate plan that will allow your parents to keep and maintain control of their financial and medical situation while they are able, is the best way to show you care. Because when the time comes that they are not able to make those decisions the family can still follow the parent’s instructions.
Watch The Webinar:
To get even more information about the many ways having financial conversations with your older parents can have a big impact, watch this #WebinarWednesday replay with Attorney Bob Mannor. You can also contact our firm with questions.