If you have a parent over the age of 64, then I’m sure thoughts about their future may have started to creep into your mind. However, since thinking about (let alone discussing their death) can be an extremely overwhelming and daunting task, it’s easy to let these conversations be pushed off.
Yet, not having a plan can create, among a host of other problems, two serious complications when a parent passes away. Not only will you possibly have to unravel their potentially complicated financial picture, but there may also be a significant cost (which could easily be avoided) in unraveling that you will have to deal with while you are trying to grieve and console other family members.
The easiest way to avoid these and other complications would be to start having the conversation now with your parents about estate planning. Although the term can sound like a task reserved for high-net-worth individuals, it is not. Rather, it’s an essential process (that can be accomplished affordably) to ensures clear directives exist for all sorts of situations that can accompany the end of life.
Below, find a breakdown of why putting an estate plan in place matters, as well as some tips on getting started.
Why Putting An Estate Plan In Place Matters…
It is crucial to set intentions and priorities. An estate plan is an opportunity to set sensible intentions about life’s certainties. So, asking your parents to take stock of their assets and belongings (including digital records and policies) is not just about the numbers and paperwork. Rather it is also a chance to gauge preparedness. Additionally, careful planning can likewise ensure that you are able to step in during a medical emergency or if a parent becomes incapacitated.
Start by asking your parent(s) the following (delicately of course):
- What are your medical care preferences?
- Who should make medical decisions on your behalf?
- Who do you want as your primary caregiver?
- How will we pay for health care expenses?
- Do you want to avoid probate?
- How should we handle your property when you die?
- Should we sell it, or should someone in the family inherit it?
- Do you have any valuable items that you want to be handled in a specific way?
- Where are your most important documents?
- Are there any digital records we will need to access?
Here’s a quick guide to help you start this conversation with them…
Know The Documents…
A basic South Carolina estate plan Trey Harrell Auto Accident and Personal Injury Attorney prepares will typically include the following documents: a last will and testament, a durable power of attorney and a South Carolina health care power of attorney. However, some individuals prefer to avoid as much of the probate process as possible, so they have Attorney Trey Harrell prepare a Revocable Living Trust among other documents. Each of these documents serve a different purpose, but what they have in common is that they all name a designated party to act in a way that’s recognized by the law. Know the documents to find out if your parents already have any, if any need updating or do what they expect them to do.
Be Mindful of Your Family Dynamics…
Consider who should be involved in the conversation. If you have siblings, this is an excellent time to get on the same page. The last thing you want is for someone to feel like they are being overlooked or not involved in the process, as that could cause substantial issues in the future. Also, if you’re part of a blended family, this gives you a straightforward chance to clarify the “chain of command.” Getting all this information hashed out now can help your family avoid disputes later.
Look Into Professional Help…
Remember, every U.S. state has its own specific requirements that a will and other estate planning documents must meet to be considered legally enforceable. So, although you can draft a will yourself, it is a good idea to discuss what is necessary for a will to be valid with an attorney licensed to practice law in South Carolina. Additionally, since an estate plan can also involve other financial components and responsibilities you may want to be prepared to discuss with their CPA.
Go Ahead & Get Started…
Hopefully, this information is helpful in helping you get the process started with your parents. Although it affects you, remember that the decision is ultimately theirs, so you want to make sure you provide them with all the information so that they can make an informed decision.
If you have any questions regarding an current estate plan for your parents, please do not hesitate to reach out to Trey Harrell Auto Accident and Personal Injury Attorney & Estate Planning Attorney Trey Harrell at 843.636.TREY  or by sending him a message online. Attorney Trey Harrell and his team will walk you through this potential confusing process and do what they can to make sure your parents estate plan is properly in place and does what they want it to.
About Attorney Trey Harrell:
He is a family oriented former federal prosecutor turned estate planning attorney. Attorney Trey Harrell has served as a Federal Prosecutor with the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) task force where he worked to prosecute high level drug trafficking and firearm crimes throughout the state of South Carolina. Whether it is Estate Planning for your family’s future, dealing with an insurance company after an auto accident, or helping sort out a DUI, Charleston Attorney Trey Harrell can provide you or your loved one with the type of representation you expect and deserve. Just ask the readers of Mount Pleasant Magazine…
Trey Harrell Auto Accident and Personal Injury Attorney is located in Charleston but can serve clients all over the State of South Carolina including Mount Pleasant, West Ashley, Summerville, Hanahan, Isle of Palms, Sullivan’s Island and Awendaw.
Disclaimer: Information in this blog is intended for informative purposes only and not legal advice. Please consult with a licensed attorney before you make any decisions on legal matters. Further, viewing of this information does not create an attorney-client relationship with Trey Harrell Auto Accident and Personal Injury Attorney. Matters will be handled by an attorney who primarily practice out of our office in Charleston County located at 2000 Sam Rittenberg Blvd. Charleston, SC 29407. Robert W. “Trey” Harrell, III is the attorney responsible for this posting.