Important Discussions to Have with Aging Parents Before it is Too Late

Are you the adult child of aging parents? Up until now have they been able to live in their own home, buy their own groceries and drive themselves to appointments? That being said, have you noticed any slowing down? Some recent medical challenges, not going out as much and asking for help with driving to appointments? It may be time to start having some discussions with them about what they want in the future. To begin, ask them if they have an estate plan? If they became incapacitated, where would they want to live or who would be in charge of their affairs if they were incapacitated? We know it is not always easy or comfortable to talk with your aging parents about estate planning issues and their future, however, when approached with care you may find that your aging parents are more receptive to discussing these important issues than you thought.

Now is the time to take the opportunity to sit down with your aging parents, while they are healthy and have capacity, to discuss the future. We do have some questions we would recommend asking your parents.

• Do your parents have a Florida estate plan? This is a very important question for your parents to answer. If they do have an estate plan, when was the last time it was updated? If they do not have a Florida estate plan, it is time to find a Florida estate planning attorney and create one.

• If you are having difficulties talking to your parents about estate planning, could you use the passing of recent family members to help open the conversation? Possibly. When talking to your parents about the passing of close family, gently introduce the subject of their own estate planning. Ask whether they have a Florida estate planning attorney and whether they have created an estate plan.

• Have you asked your parents what they want if they are incapacitated in a car accident? This is an easier question to begin with than to ask what they would like to have happen should they die? Find out if they have determined who should act for them in a crisis? These questions can lead to more in-depth conversations about their estate plan. In their estate plan they can choose trusted people to take over for them if they become incapacitated due to a car accident.

• When your parents are no longer able to live on their own, where do they want to live? What happens if they need long-term nursing home care? As they age, many adults may need assistance with daily tasks, such as keeping up with necessary medications, personal hygiene, or home-related responsibilities. You need to ask if they would prefer in-home care or moving to an assisted-living facility? Included in that conversation, you and your parents will need to look at finances and see what your parents can afford.

• A Florida power of attorney is a very important tool in an estate plan. Do your parents each have a Florida power of attorney? Do you know who have they chosen to be their power of attorney? With their power of attorney if your aging parents were suddenly to become incapacitated they would have already named a trusted person of their choice to make legally binding decisions on their behalf. Discussing this concept of preparedness could ease the concerns of your parents in regard to if they were to suddenly become incapacitated due to an accident or illness. Your aging parents could also create instructions through an advance directive for how their chosen agent should handle their health care if they are incapacitated or facing an end-of-life situation.

We encourage you not to wait to ask us your elder law questions on this or any important issue facing Florida seniors today. The experienced team of attorneys here at Hemness Faller, The Law Office formerly known as Emma Hemness, P.A., are here for you and your family and we want to be YOUR estate planning and elder law attorneys. After all, we are ordinary people, providing extraordinary guidance backed by years of experience and advocacy for the vulnerable citizens in our community. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with us.