Ideally, people should plan their estate before they are unable to do so on their own. However, that’s not always the case for our elderly loved ones.
When older adults wait too long to plan their estate, they may end up not being able to do it on their own. If this is the case for your elderly relatives, you can help them do it before they go, as well as handle their final affairs afterwards.
Planning an estate may require a different approach when you’re helping an elderly person than when you’re doing it for your own estate. That said, here are some tips on how you can assist your elderly loved ones:
1. Respect their wishes
Before you look for the experienced property solicitors in Townsville, make sure you’ve discussed the particulars of their will and estate plans with them. Respect their last wishes and keep their best interests at heart. If you have objections about some of them (especially if you are the next of kin), be patient and respectful about it.
2. Obtain the essential documents
Start acquiring the essential documents for estate planning as early as possible. The required documents include but are not limited to a Trust, Statutory Power of Attorney, Advanced Health Care Directive, Expanded Durable Power of Attorney, and HIPAA Authorization for Release of Medical Information. These documents will make it easier for you to assist your senior loved ones when they are too old or too sick to take care of things themselves.
3. Be patient and sensitive
For many older adults, it can be difficult to talk about and plan the last phase of their life. It’s normal to be uncomfortable or hesitant while doing so. Hence, it’s only fair to be patient and sensitive with your elderly loved ones when they are going through this stage of their life.
Avoid rushing them into decisions or pressuring them into something they don’t want to do. Remember that just because they have entrusted you with their affairs, it doesn’t mean that you have full reign of what they want to do with their estate.
More importantly, be gentle when assisting them with estate planning. If they are taking too long, be patient, but make sure they finalize their decisions before it’s too late.
4. Look over documents together
If there is an existing will or estate plan, review these documents with your elderly relative. Make sure it is updated and has the correct beneficiaries. Otherwise, help your loved one make the necessary changes. Include them in every step of the way to make sure all of their last wishes are granted after they pass.
5. Check taxes
Consult with an attorney to see if your loved one’s property will owe state or federal estate taxes. Although it’s unlikely to end up with an exorbitant amount, it’s still worth checking. Moreover, you can reduce the amount of taxes their estate will owe by starting trusts or giving assets as gifts.
Most people will think that assisting a loved one with estate planning seems morbid, but it’s often necessary to make sure the family doesn’t get burdened with complications later on. Keep these things in mind when helping your elderly relatives plan their estate.