Many of our elders live to advanced ages with minimal health problems. Others need more assistance. In any case, it is common to wonder if our parents have taken care of their legal affairs. Have they created Durable Powers of Attorney, Health Care Proxies, and Living Wills to appoint financial, legal, and health care decision makers? Have they created Wills? Are their Wills and other documents up to date? Has anyone assessed their estate tax risks or identified whether probate expenses will be an issue? Will we have to sell our grandfather's beach house to pay estate taxes? What happens if Mom has to go into a nursing home? How will she pay for her care? Are distribution issues addressed, so my siblings won't argue over money or personal items of insignificant value? Are beneficiaries of non-probate assets properly identified, so there are no unintended distribution consequences? In short, are we going to inherit a legal and financial mess if our parents are sick or die?
It is important to recognize that many people will resist talking to an estate planning attorney. Perhaps this resistance is a result of privacy issues or difficulty in facing mortality. You can assist your parents by explaining that estate planning is not only for the wealthy, and even in modest estates, proper planning can ease the financial and legal burdens of death and disability for other family members.
The estate planning process is very non-threatening. There are no hard-sell tactics or hidden fees. The process is that of information gathering, education, recommendations, creating drafts, review of drafts, incorporation of final comments, signing and implementation. You and your family members will be guided through each step.
We recognize that estate plans are most effective when multiple generations have implemented quality plans. Early intervention provides you with the maximum possible benefit. With this in mind, we offer additional services of review of the estate plan documents of your parents, siblings, and children.
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