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6 questions you need to ask your parents

For many people, imagining a time when their parents are the ones who need to be taken care of is challenging. For so much of your life, they are the ones who took care of you. While it may be difficult to envision, the truth is that it’s likely going to be a reality. Whether they need full-time care or they just need some guidance in making sure that their affairs are in order, your parents will likely need some extra support.

Having some conversations sooner, rather than later, can ensure that everything is decided upon long before there needs to be a decision. Fully understanding their wishes can alleviate the responsibility of trying to determine major decision on their behalf during a stressful time. In order to prepare yourself, your family and your parents, here are six questions you need to ask your parents.

1. What medical care do you want?

If something tragic were to happen, what medical interventions would they like to occur? Do they want doctors to do everything they can to save their lives? Or would they prefer minimal life-saving measures? An advance health care directive, also known as a living will, can ensure that what they want is put into writing. This allows for everyone to know what it is that they would have wanted rather than making someone else decide for them.

2. Who should make decisions for you?

From durable power of attorney for medical decision and finances, to the executor of the will, knowing who they want to make decisions on their behalf is important. The executor is responsible for beginning the probate process, which is when the debts are paid and assets are distributed. Whether they decide to name a friend, yourself or a sibling, letting them make that choice will eliminate the burden later on and make probate simpler.

3. Where do you want to live?

Today, seniors have many choices about where they want to reside. Would they like to move to a retirement home so that they have companionship and meal opportunities? Would they rather stay in the home they’ve lived in for many decades? Making that determination early on can help everyone prepare for the future.

4. Do you have a financial plan for long-term care?

If they plan to spend down their assets in order to qualify for Medicaid for long-term care, that’s a process that needs to begin well before they plan to ever need it. Because of the Look-Back period, this must be timely and strategic. It’s generally a good idea to seek legal assistance with this.

5. When’s the last time you updated your estate plan?

Many people create a will and never think about it again. It’s wise to revisit any estate plan every couple of years in order to make certain it is the most up-to-date and accurate compilation of documents. Circumstances change, and you want to be sure that is reflected in their estate plan.

6. Do you know who to trust?

Unfortunately, senior citizens are often the target of financial scams. Having a candid conversation with your parent or loved one about the reality of these scams is an important first step in preventing them.

It can be difficult to have these conversations with your parents, but you – and they – will be grateful you did.

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