Attorney & Mediator
Attorney & Mediator

Estate Planning: Older Parents – Do a Favor for Your Adult Children


When people consider estate planning, they think about the older individuals in the family getting their affairs in order.  The adult children want mom and dad to decide upon their estate and distribution of their assets.  The children and the parents want an orderly transition – without chaos.  The more prepared you are, the more easily the process will be.

Adult children often sit down with their aging parents to discuss these issues.  What do mom and dad want to do when they are too elderly to live alone? Where will they want to live?  Who will care for them?  Who will look after their financial well-being?

The missing piece of the puzzle here is the fact that the adult children do not take their own advice.  They do not engage in estate planning.  After all, they may be in their 40’s or 50’s and there is no need to do this type of planning, right?  Wrong.

While sitting down for “the talk”, I would encourage older parents to urge their adult children to get their estate plans in order as well.  While it is usual for all of the children to pitch in and help mom or dad if they cannot live on their own, that may not be the case for an adult child who has minor children of their own.  The situation could be more chaotic and difficult for all concerned.

“The talk” is a two-way street.  While it is important to know what mom would want if she were critically ill, it is also important for mom and dad to know what their adult children would want if they were critically ill.  There is usually less said about that – but it is just as important.

Urge your adult children to get their estate plans done at the same time.  While theirs may not be as complex, they are just as important.  It should really be a family affair.  Everyone should be ready for the future – not just mom and dad.