Four Important Issues to Raise With Your Aging Parents
After years of counting on your parents as a strong and supportive presence in your own life, it can be hard to acknowledge the inevitable fact of their aging. Unfortunately, there often comes a time when we simply cannot help but notice how the years have taken a toll and that once sharp, healthy, and independent people now require some extra assistance. Even if your parents are in otherwise good health, there are certain estate planning issues that will eventually need to be addressed. Talking about aging, financial matters, and end of life issues can be awkward, but it is important to take an open and direct approach to ensure both you and your parents are protected. The following are four important issues to consider raising with them:
- Wills, Estate Administrators, and Beneficiaries
Do not automatically assume your parents have a will in place. According to the American Association of Retired People (AARP), roughly 60 percent of all adults do not. If they do have one, make sure it was drafted by an experienced estate planning attorney, otherwise it may not be legally valid.
In their will, they should have named someone to act as an estate administrator, along with a second person just in case the first is unable to perform the task. Make sure the person has the time and skills needed to accomplish these duties. Double check with your parents on their beneficiaries as well, to ensure any changes in your family such as births, marriages, or deaths are reflected.
- Advance Directives
Advance directives can help to communicate your parents’ wishes in the event they are unable to themselves. A power of attorney document can ensure important financial matters are addressed while a health care power of attorney allows you to make medical decisions on their behalf. Make sure you are also clear on how they feel about life saving measures, such as the use of ventilators or feeding tubes. Consider whether they need to have a living will and Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR) in place.
- Medicaid Planning
Your parents may still enjoy their independence now, but chances are good they will require additional help as they continue to age. Medicaid planning helps to ensure that these services are provided, without your parents have to deplete all of their assets. Once they are eligible, the New York Department of Health provides numerous support services to help ensure their personal, physical, and social needs are met.
- Health and Safety
One of the best ways to promote a better quality of life and avoid the high costs of nursing home care is by taking the necessary precautions now. Speak to your parents about safety in the home and address any health or mobility issues they may be having.
Let Us Help You Today
When navigating the many issues concerning aging parents, Cavallo & Cavallo can provide the trusted legal guidance you need. To request a confidential consultation in our Bronx or Westchester office, contact our New York estate planning attorneys today.