How to Talk about the Practical Issues Associated with Aging with Your Parents

How to Talk about the Practical Issues Associated with Aging with Your Parents

If your parents are well into their retirement years you may be struggling with the realities associated with aging. It can be difficult to watch your parents succumb to the physical and mental deterioration that occurs with the natural aging process. You may even be faced with a role reversal that turns you into the parent and your parent into the vulnerable child that you once were. Although it can be intimidating to contemplate, now is the time to have a serious conversation with your parents about aging. To get you started, the Knoxville estate planning attorneys at Stivers Law help you plan to talk about the practical issues associated with aging with your parents.

Have a Conversation As Soon As Possible

It may be difficult to plan the discussion; however, you never know when physical injuries or mental deterioration could render a parent incapacitated. Putting off the conversation could result in your parents missing out on the opportunity to participate meaningfully in the conservation. Furthermore, if your parent does reach the point of legal incapacitation, he/she will no longer be able to legally execute a Power of Attorney, a Living Will, or an advanced directive. Just as you would want your input to be considered when discussing who might make decisions for you and/or control your assets, your parent undoubtedly wants his/her input considered as well. Do not take that opportunity away by waiting too long to have a discussion.

Aging Parents? Prepare for the Conversation

Take some time to decide what issues are most important to cover when you talk to your parents. Each situation is unique; however, some common topics that you might want to put on your list include:

  • Long-term care planning. We all enter our retirement years with a 50 percent chance of needing long-term care at some point, and the odds increase the longer we live. The average cost of a year in long-term care (LTC) in North Carolina for 2022 was almost $100,000. Have your facts and figures ready so you can impress upon your parents the need to plan in case LTC is needed. For many seniors, that means incorporating Medicaid planning into their overall estate plan.
  • Power of attorney. A parent may wish to give an adult child a durable power of attorney so that someone else has the legal authority to manage the parent’s finances and assets. Make sure, however, that your parents have a clear understanding of the authority granted to an Agent under a general POA. Making the POA durable means it will survive your parent’s incapacity should that occur down the road.
  • Advance directives. Many people have very clear wishes regarding end-of-life medical care. The only way for your parents to be certain those wishes will be honored is to execute the appropriate advance directive which will lay out those wishes in detail. In addition, your parents may wish to execute another type of advance directive that gives someone the authority to make health care decisions for your parent if he/she cannot make them because of incapacity.
  • Guardianship is the most restrictive option available when an individual cannot safely make decisions and/or manage his/her own affairs. Discussing the possibility ahead of time, or even entering into a voluntary guardianship, prevents the possibility of someone not of your parent’s choosing petitioning for – and obtaining – guardianship over your parent at a later date when he/she is not able to effectively object.
  • Funeral and burial planning. Encouraging your parents to make plans now is the best way to ensure that his/her wishes are honored when the time comes. It can also take the stress off surviving loved ones if the cost of the funeral and burial services has already been arranged.
  • Elder abuse. Sadly, elder abuse occurs far more often than most people realize. Most incidences of elder abuse are not reported, often because the victim is embarrassed and does not speak out. Talking about the prevalence of elder abuse with a parent can encourage him/her to confide in you if it ever does occur.

Contact Our Knoxville Estate Planning Attorneys

For more information, please join us for an upcoming FREE webinar. If you have additional questions or concerns about how to talk about aging with your parents, contact the experienced Knoxville estate planning attorneys at Stivers Law by calling (305) 456-3255 to schedule an appointment.

Author Bio

Justin Stivers is the founder and managing attorney of Stivers Law, an estate planning firm specializing in wills, probate, trust administration, and financial risk management services. Justin’s approach goes beyond just creating legal documents. From aligning investments with estate plans to ensuring comprehensive insurance coverage, he safeguards a client’s legacy from unforeseen circumstances. His commitment extends beyond individual transactions, fostering lifelong partnerships to provide ongoing support and guidance.

With an impressive track record, Justin is licensed by the Florida and the Tennessee State Bars. His professional portfolio boasts Series 65 registration as a Registered Investment Advisor, the Wealth Management Specialist™ designation, and a 2-15 License for Health, Life, and Annuities. His dedication to excellence has earned him positions like Board Member of the Estate Planning Council of Greater Miami, Business Eagle Member of the Florida Justice Association, and active membership in esteemed organizations like the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.

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