Having The Difficult Conversations About Asset Protection
No matter what type of relationship a person has with their parents, facing their aging and eventual passing can be difficult for all the parties involved. However, having those conversations about asset protection and estate planning are crucial – after all, it is a good idea to try and protect the assets they worked so hard to accrue. While it may be difficult, it is best to have these conversations before any major health concerns make themselves known; this way it feels more comfortable and less imminent for all involved.
Make Them A Part Of The Process
One of the most potentially problematic parts of talking to your parents about estate planning is having to negotiate their concerns in a way that makes them a part of the process. For example, it is not uncommon for people of a certain generation to consider discussions about money or assets to be inappropriate or even taboo. While it may seem silly to younger people, it can be a real roadblock that must be navigated with sensitivity. In some situations, it is helpful to the adult children to ask for their senior parents’ advice as a gateway to open a door to estate planning and asset protection.
One other factor that many older people do not consider is that estate planning is not merely something that should occur in a vacuum; rather, it can protect their loved ones if they suddenly pass away or become incapacitated. When someone does not have a will or other estate plan, they are said to have died intestate, and New York law imposes what is known as an intestate succession. An intestate succession essentially distributes a person’s property to certain heirs. This automatic succession is not typically what most people think it is. For example,- a surviving spouse will not inherit everything on their spouses death if they have children.
Establish The Basics
If you are able to get your parents’ attention with regard to estate planning, start with the basics. A will is the foundational estate planning document in New York and most other states. It is relatively easy to create one. New York law requires that a will be in writing (with rare exceptions), signed by the testator (the subject of the will) and at least two attesting witnesses, in each other’s presence. Most property can be gifted in a standard will, though the testator may choose to execute other estate planning documents, such as a living trust, to handle other assets.
Another integral document for many older people is a power of attorney (POA), particularly if they are in declining health. A POA is a document which empowers a chosen agent to handle a person’s financial and/or legal decisions for them even if they are incapacitated. The POA is not the same as a healthcare proxy allows someone to make healthcare decisions for the signer – but that may be another document to bring up with your parents.
Contact A Mahopac or Pleasantville Asset Protection Attorney
It is never easy to have such significant conversations with loved ones, but they must happen. A Westchester County or Putnam County asset protection attorney can help with the nuts and bolts of asset protection and estate planning once you have impressed upon your loved ones that they need to be a part of the process. Contact Meyer & Spencer, PC today to schedule a consultation at (914) 741-2288.