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Modern Estate Planning Blog

Elder Law & Special Needs Planning

Fair Oaks Elder Law Attorney’s Advice on Helping Parents Create an Estate Plan

December 5, 2011

Estate planning is a sensitive subject for many people, especially when it comes to helping mom or dad with their planning. It can be difficult to think about losing your parents, which is why I find that many adult children in the Sacramento area ultimately put off this important task.

Adult children may also procrastinate on even talking to mom or dad about their estate planning because of other complex reasons. For example, an adult child who wants to help mom or dad set up a will or trust may worry that their parents or other family members could mistake their concern for greed. Or, if the parent has remarried, then even more complex family dynamics can come into play, with the adult child feeling the need to stay quiet, rather than create waves.

Estate planning and elder law attorneys in Fair Oaks see these factors and so many more, but we also see the other side of the coin. When a parent passes away or becomes incapacitated without an estate plan, the fallout can be devastating. It may fall to the courts to determine who should be given power over medical and/or financial decisions for the parent, and the court’s opinion often does not reflect the wishes of those involved.

That’s why it’s so important for adult children and their aging parents to understand that planning in advance is the best way to ensure mom or dad’s true wishes are honored in an emergency.

Procrastinating on helping your parents with their estate plan is a dangerous gamble, as mom or dad needs to have everything taken care of while they are still able to make sound decisions. Again, most people don’t want to think about losing their mental capacity, but it is very common. And, knowing that your parents are able to make decisions with a clear head doesn’t just reassure the family, it also reassures the courts.

Creating wills and trusts and setting up powers of attorney can also give your parents the sense of control that they may feel slipping away. In order to augment this positive association, it can also be helpful to point out that estate planning:

  • Allows them to determine who they want to have in charge of their money
  • Provides the opportunity to designate who will receive which assets (or none at all)
  • Keeps the courts out of their affairs, saving time, money, and hassles for those left behind
  • Ensures that THEIR wishes are the ones that matter
  • Minimizes the taxes that will be paid out of the estate

Again, life is busy, and it’s easy to say that estate planning is something that we’ll get to “later.” However, any elder law attorney in Fair Oaks can tell you that “later” doesn’t always come when you think it will. Instead of leaving the decisions (and potential hassles) in someone else’s hands, empower your parents to stay in control by having a sound estate plan.

Remember, we are here to help you with any of these issues, so if you need assistance helping your aging parents create an estate plan, be sure to give us a call at (916) 241-9661 and schedule a Peace of Mind Planning Session with the mention of this article. You can also download over $1250 in free planning resources to help you get planning in place for mom or dad by accessing our “Sandwich Survival Kit” here.

Free Resources


A wonderful job! After watching my family deal with litigation after a death, this is so important for everyone, young and old.

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