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How will your parents' estate plan affect you?


If you are lucky enough to have parents still living, do you know if they have made estate plans (wills, powers of attorneys, healthcare documents)? If so, do you know how they will affect you, your siblings, and your children? Do you even know where the estate plans are located or if they are current?


The vast majority of families I meet with cannot answer these questions. With the holidays approaching and families planning get-togethers to celebrate, I am doubling down on encouraging clients to talk with their parents or older family members about estate planning. It’s important to approach the subject from a caring perspective, and not one of financial gain. Here are some questions to start the conversation:


1. Mom/Dad, have you made a will?

2. Do you know how old it is and where it is?

3. Do you have a list of your assets? How will I know where to find your bank accounts, retirement accounts, and insurance policies?

4. What things do you expect me to do, if you pass away? Do you have notes or instructions on your wishes written down somewhere?

5. Do you have a healthcare power of attorney (aka Advanced Directive for Healthcare, “Living Will”, “Five Wishes”, or sometimes colloquially known as a “DNR”)?


If you happen to get past those questions, move on to:


6. Do you have a power of attorney for personal and financial business (“POA”?)

7. Do you have a list of certain items to go to particular people?

8. Do you want to record a legacy interview with me (or the grandkids)? (Stay tuned for next week’s post on how to do a legacy interview!)


If your parents have made a plan, that’s great! But you should still ask them how current it is. Wishes change, families change, and laws change. I recommend to my clients that they review their estate plans every 3-5 years or when there is a change in family structure (like a birth, death, or divorce).


If your parents can’t answer these questions, or have questions about their existing plans, please encourage them to at least have their plan reviewed by an estate planning professional. Many will offer no-cost consultations, including our office. Give us a call to schedule an introductory phone call or initial meeting to discuss estate planning for your family. 912-405-NEST

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