Legal Matters

presented by Bradford & Holliman, Estate Planning

As families gather to enjoy food and holiday time together, it can be a good opportunity to discuss estate planning issues for parents. Consider your own family situation and decide if some of the following questions will be beneficial for your family to discuss:

  1. Do your children know that you have an estate plan? If so, do they know where to locate the documents when they are needed? Ideally, the person(s) that will be in charge should already have copies of these documents.
  2. Are your estate documents old? Do they need to be updated? Laws change and your documents may not have all the necessary powers that are needed.
  3. If you need to name a person(s) to act on your behalf for financial and medical decisions, have you told this person that you have nominated him or her? Will this person be prepared to act? If not, you may need to reconsider this person as your choice for agent.
  4. Do the children understand your wishes about how to care for you as you age? How do you feel about in-home caregivers, assisted living, memory care and nursing homes? Take into consideration what the family should do if you are no longer able to care for yourself and caregiving in the home is not working. This occurs most often when the person has serious medical needs or is an escape risk due to dementia or Alzheimer’s. Giving permission to your children to place you in a nursing home can ease the guilt experienced by children when they feel forced to place a parent in a nursing home for safety issues.
  5. How do you feel about end of life decisions? Do your children know if you want to be kept alive by life support or feeding tubes; or, have you clearly stated you do not want to be kept alive if you cannot recover and have a meaningful life?
  6. Do you believe there will be disputes about your assets at your death? If so, a conversation clearly stating what you wish may help to prevent future disputes. Of course, in some families, this tactic will not work and you must judge your own situation.

These topics are not festive; but, discussing these subjects is crucial to a peaceful aging and estate process. Take time when everyone is available to make sure everyone clearly understands your estate plan; or, make the decisions necessary to create an estate plan.

Melanie Bradford Holliman 

Partner, Bradford & Holliman, LLC

Practice focuses on estate planning, elder law and special needs trust.

2491 Pelham Parkway, Pelham, Ala. 35124

205-663-0281, www.bradfordholliman.com

This article is for educational purposes and is not intended for specific legal advice.

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