Becoming a parent to your parents
The parent-child relationship is pretty defined. Children generally don’t advise their parents. However, this dynamic can shift as parents get older and adult children may start to have certain questions about the way mom and dad have planned for the eventualities of aging.
Being aware of what plans have been made opens the door for a conversation about what planning is left to be considered to make sure their wishes are carried out as they’d like them to be. This includes addressing their wishes to be cremated which, if not clearly spelled out in approved New Mexico legal documents can result in immediate and long-lasting strife and cost to your family.
Once an adult child comes to the conclusion that a discussion is needed with aging parents, determining how to proceed can be difficult. It’s not easy to reverse roles and ask parents to provide their children with sensitive financial information. One way for a child to approach the subject would be to explain their own estate planning efforts. By telling parents what you have done and why, you can then ask them what they have done. The question would arise naturally and organically. You have just explained your estate plan to your parents, so they may feel compelled to explain their plan to you.
This interaction is in their best interests, and it’s not just a conversation about the eventual transfer of financial assets. There is the matter of long-term care to take into consideration. Recent studies have shown that nearly 15 million Americans over the age of 50 care for and spend their own resources to support aging parents. Most Americans will need assistance with their day-to-day needs at some point in time. You may in fact notice that your parents are starting to have trouble getting around. This is something that impacts the entire family because most of the living assistance received by senior citizens comes from family members, friends and neighbors. When this is not possible, seniors often enter assisted-living facilities. Medicare does not pay for an extended stay in an assisted-living community or nursing home. These facilities are extremely expensive, averaging over $7500 to $9000 per month in New Mexico, and many seniors may not understand the extent of the financial burden.
Sense of Relief
Once you have expressed an interest in the planning efforts of your parents they may actually be quite relieved. You are demonstrating a high level of maturity as you tackle a difficult subject as a caring family member. As you gain an understanding of their existing plan you can make suggestions. Assisting them in finding a qualified estate planning attorney may be an integral part of this process.
When your parents are aware of the fact that you want to be of assistance as they enter into the later stages of their lives, a new type of relationship may develop. They will know they can count on you as their own capabilities wane, and this can strengthen the parent-child bond.
At the Foster Legal Advisory Group, I am here to help families with all their estate planning needs which includes creating inventories of all financial, insurance and digital assets so that when the time comes your children will have all the required information needed to support them in their time of need. Call me today for a FREE consult at 505-238-8385.
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