Remember that awkward birds-and-the-bees chat with your
parents about a zillion years ago? Now, as your parents approach retirement,
it's time for another slightly uncomfortable talk: this time about finances and
legal paperwork. Even if your parents are still active and healthy, the day will
come when they need assistance. Make sure to prepare five key documents to protect
their finances and health. And if you have children of your own, do them a
favor by getting these documents for yourself.
needs a will, regardless of age and assets. Without a will, the courts will follow
state law to distribute your assets. A will makes clear how you wish your
personal effects to be distributed and helps avoid disagreements over the
estate after death.
Revocable Living Trust
If you die with only a will in place, the courts need to
undergo a process known as probate, a legal stamp of approval, which can cost
as much as five percent of an estate and take up to a year. Talk about
inheriting a legal tangle! Spare your heirs this process by setting up a
revocable living trust, which allows you to retain control over your estate
while making transfers to beneficiaries. Upon death, the trust protects the
estate from probate.
known as a medical or health directive, a living will allows your parent to
spell out what type of care your loved one wishes to receive if they become terminally
ill and incapacitated.
Durable Power of Attorney for Health-Care
Ask your parent to designate a trusted person with a
durable power of attorney to make healthcare decisions in case of
incapacitation. Make sure it has a HIPPA release that allows access to health
records and physicians.
Durable Power of Attorney for Finances
managing your loved one's bills possible with this document which allows you to
administer your loved one's financial affairs, pay their bills, dispose of
Beyond FoldersTM is written by a team of Pendaflex associates
passionate about time management, communications, productivity and workplace organization. Believing in "continuous improvement" on both a personal and professional level, they share their unique perspectives on subjects of common interest to our readers.