How to Approach End-of-Life Planning with Your Parents

By  //  March 28, 2023

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No one likes to think about the end of life, but it’s a necessary conversation. As our parent’s age, we must help them prepare an end-of-life plan that ensures their wishes are met, and their legacy is preserved.

In this article, we’ll outline the steps you can take to assist your parents in creating a comprehensive end-of-life plan.

It’s never easy to think about the end of life, but it’s a crucial conversation. Many families put off having this conversation until it’s too late, and the consequences can be devastating. By following these steps, you can help your parents create a plan that will provide peace of mind for everyone involved.

Help Your Parents Understand the Importance of an End-of-Life Plan

An end-of-life plan outlines your parents’ wishes for their care and the disposition of their assets after their passing. It’s crucial to ensure their wishes are met and their legacy is preserved. Without an end-of-life plan, decisions about your parent’s care and their assets will be made by others, often with no knowledge of your parents’ desires. These decisions can lead to family conflict and legal battles that can be emotionally and financially draining.

Approaching a Discussing with Your Parents about End-of-Life Planning

The first step in helping your parents create an end-of-life plan is to initiate the conversation. It’s a challenging topic to broach, but it’s essential. You can start by expressing your concerns about their well-being and asking if they have any thoughts or preferences regarding their end-of-life care. Make it clear that you want to respect their wishes and preserve their legacy.

Creating an End-of-Life Plan

Once your parents have expressed their wishes, it’s time to create an end-of-life plan. Remember this information may be needed when they are still alive and you need to care for them. Make sure the information is highly organized and stored in a place where it is easily accessible. There are digital apps that can help with this. The following should be included in the plan:

Will & Estate Plan – A will is a legal document that details how you want your assets to be distributed after you die, and an estate plan is a comprehensive strategy for managing all aspects of your finances and property. Estate planning can help you provide for your family, minimize taxes, and ensure that your wishes are carried out according to your desires.

Important Assets – The list of assets should include things like your home, vehicles, real estate, and any other assets with significant monetary or material value. 

Vital Records – The list of important records includes birth certificates, social security cards, tax returns, and marriage and divorce certificates. All of these records will be vital in settling of the estate.

Insurance – There are many types of insurance, including life, accident, health, homeowners or renters, automotive, disability, long-term care, etc. Some insurance may cover costs just before their passing, while others may provide benefits after. Also, canceling insurance no longer needed is essential, so you don’t continue being charged for them.

Financial – Don’t forget to get an accurate list of all your parent’s financial accounts, including bank, brokerage, and retirement plans. Also, make sure their beneficiaries are kept up to date.

Care of Remains & Memorial – Do your parents want to be embalmed and buried, cremated, or are they interested in alternative preservation methods? What kind of memorial would they like, and who would they like to be there? It’s important to know, as these will be some of the first questions you’ll be asked when they pass. 

Other Information – Do your parents have plants or pets that need to be cared for? What about their online presence, what happens to it? Don’t underestimate the small stuff. It might be more important to them than the bigger things.

The outline above covers the majority of the information you’ll need to capture to manage your parent’s affairs when they can no longer do it.

Helping your parents create an end-of-life plan is not an easy task, but it’s necessary. By initiating the conversation, understanding the importance of an end-of-life plan, and working with an attorney to create a comprehensive plan, you can ensure that your parent’s wishes are met, and their legacy is preserved.