Estate planning is something that all Maryland residents should do regardless of their age. If your parents have not started the process, you can help make it easier for them to understand.
Why is estate planning important?
Estate planning allows you to plan for the future by protecting your assets, property and loved ones. You can explain to your parents that they should decide how they want their assets and property distributed when they are no longer around and who they wish to have as beneficiaries to inherit the property.
On top of that, your parents should understand that health care directives and powers of attorney are important if they are ever rendered incapacitated. They should have an idea of who they wish to designate for such roles and who they want as their primary caregiver if they can no longer make their own decisions.
What estate planning documents should individuals have?
In addition to the basic will that explains beneficiaries and who receives what property and assets, all parents need a living will that dictates their wishes for their care in certain medical situations. End-of-life care can be decided in this legal document. For example, if your parent prefers to have a do not resuscitate or DNR order, it can be included in their living will. Others might prefer the opposite.
Powers of attorney
A durable power of attorney is necessary for parents if they become incapacitated. This is a trusted person who can make their decisions when they are unable to do so. Durable powers of attorney can help with all types of important decisions and ensure that bills and taxes are paid, and the document may also play a role if guardianship is necessary.
At the very least, parents should have financial and health care powers of attorney. The latter can ensure that their health care wishes are carried out if they are incapacitated.
Finding the right time to broach the subject can help you talk to your parents about estate planning. The process may not seem so intimidating if you walk them through it.