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Is it time to talk with your parents about estate planning?

Many Illinois residents are adult children of aging parents. In some households, elderly parents live with a son or daughter. There are also older parents who are able to maintain independent lifestyles, and some who have transitioned into semi or fully-assisted living facilities. As parents age, estate planning often becomes a big concern.

A survey from 2017 shows that only approximately 42% of adults in the United States have executed last wills and testaments. Adult children who are trying their best to provide for their parents’ needs, especially regarding health care, often encounter serious financial and legal challenges when there is no estate plan in place. That is one of numerous reasons why it is a good idea to discuss the estate planning process with aging parents while they are still of sound mind.

Several priority topics regarding an aging parent’s estate include who he or she has named or will name as an executor. Advance care directives are another critical component of many estate plans, especially if there is a likelihood of declined mental or physical health for the parent in question. From a legal perspective, it may not be enough to simply discuss such issues with an aging parent. It is always best to execute documents to compile a portfolio that addresses all pertinent aspects of a plan, such as last will, trusts, powers of attorney, advance care directives and more.

The estate planning process seems to frighten some older people. This is why an adult or son or daughter can provide encouragement and support, without being pushy or trying to make a parent do something he or she is not ready to do. If a parent has questions or concerns about a particular document or state laws, for instance, he or she can request a meeting with an experienced Illinois attorney for added support.