It is very important to know if your parents have created a Trust, a Power of Attorney, and an Advance Healthcare Directive. You should know the status of their planning, or lack of planning, before an emergency arises. If you had a family gathering recently, you may have noticed that they are “slowing down”, or perhaps a bit forgetful. It is important to know if they have prepared well for the inevitable, or need a loving "push" to get their affairs in order.
Unfortunately, it is far too common for a loved one to pass unexpectedly, leaving a mess for their adult children, OR, for their adult siblings. No one wants to guess at where important papers may be, or if they even exist. Worse yet, it can be a horrible experience to find the legal documents are decades old, not say what the loved one actually wanted, yet the family legally must carry out those old and out of date wishes and direction. Further, if the loved one becomes ill or hospitalized before passing, it is important that the family know whether an Advance Health Care Directive exists, so trusted individuals have the legal authority to help with medical needs.
The same applies for your personal Estate Plan. Is it up to date? Do your trusted loved ones know where it is? Is your Health Care Directive readily available in the event of a medical emergency? An Estate Plan has limited benefit if it is kept a secret, hidden away in your home file cabinet. What a wonderful New Years Resolution to make – making sure everyone’s affairs are in order!