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Protect Your Parents

When parents age, the roles often reverse, and it is their adult children who care for them. Protecting your elderly parents can have numerous legal challenges. Without an effective estate plan in place, incapacity and health issues can prevent or delay urgent decisions and can deplete the estate your parents spent a lifetime building. Fortunately, an estate plan can do much to deal with the legal issues ahead of time, so you can focus your attention on what matters most – the best care and quality of life for your parents. However, your parents should not delay getting their plan in place. A key to making sure your parents and their property are protected is to plan ahead – way ahead.

Protecting parents estate from long-term health care costs

As parents age, they are generally challenged with physical health and, in many cases, mental health issues. The onset of these may be gradual or rapid. Everyone’s situation is different, but it is impossible to predict the future. Your parents may spend most of their lives building up their estate to enjoy for themselves and their families and eventually pass on to their heirs. Sadly, health challenges during the latter years of their lives could become so expensive that their property could be depleted before they have a chance to pass it on. For example, nursing home costs can diminish an estate by many thousands of dollars every month. Long term health care can leave a person with almost nothing to pass on to their loved ones after they have passed. The good news is that if your parents establish a plan early there are ways to properly place their property out of reach from these costs and still enable her or him to receive the care they need. Such a plan, however, must be established and funded at least five years before long-term health care is needed; so, when it comes to protecting an elderly parent’s property from such expenses, planning early is vital.

Acting for parents who are unable to act for themselves

Even if your elderly parent never has a need to receive long term health care, an effective estate plan will likely be needed at some point during their lives. Will there ever be a time that your elderly parent is not mentally or physically able to make decisions for themselves? Will there be a time that he or she struggles with their finances or cannot agree to certain health procedures? If your elderly parent must be on life support, will she or he be able to decide what medication to receive and whether to remain on support? Who will make these decisions when your parents are unable to make them? These are questions that most people don’t like to really think about, but if the proper documents are in place you and your parents can have the peace of mind that comes with being prepared for such difficult times. Your parents can prepare today for the unknown future by naming trusted decision-makers who will act on their behalf when they cannot.