In our previous post, we began discussing four estate planning issues to discuss with your children well in advance of your passing. We already mentioned that it is important to inform the individual selected as your executor that they have been selected for this task. This doesn’t have to be a child, but often is. We also noted that all your children should know where your estate planning documents are located. This helps reduce confusion and feelings of betrayal, keeping everybody in the loop.
Another very important conversation to have with your children regards end of life issues, and one’s medical preferences. Incapacity is not something anybody plans on having, but it can and does happen. When it does, the possibility of voicing your medical preferences depends on how you have prepared in advance. For this purpose, an advance directive for health care is a very important tool.
In an advance directive, one is able to identify your medical preferences in given medical situations. These preferences, for many people, have deep moral and/or religious foundations. Because these are the types of issues over which families can disagree violently, it is important to be as clear as possible. Advance directives also allow you to select an individual to make your medical decisions for you in situations not articulated on the directive. The person you select should understand and respect your wishes, and have a commitment to honoring them.
Long term care is another important issue to bring up with your children. Because the costs can be so high, it is important to take stock of how your resources match up to potential costs. Often, this involves determining potential living arrangements, doing Medicare planning, looking into nursing home insurance. This is often a topic that is very difficult to discuss, but the sooner the conversation happens, the better.
These four issues are obviously not the only things you will want to discuss with your children, but it is a good start. The important thing is to get them in the loop on establishing your estate plan. The more that can happen, usually the chances of having a smooth execution of your wishes improves.
Source: yoursmartmoneymoves.com, “What Four Estate Planning Things Parents Should Tell Their Children,” Ted Jenkin, May 31, 2012.