No offense to senior citizens, but if you’re reading this, you’re probably the child of a senior citizen (or younger). With any luck, Mom or Dad have a Will and an estate plan in place. Life will be so much easier if they do. Most elderly folks already have an estate plan of some sort in place, and that’s good. What’s not so good is that most of them did their estate planning 30 years ago, and a lot has changed in the meantime. If you have a parent who is facing end of life, talk to them about their estate plan. Make sure they have a Will. Make sure they have a way. A way to pass on knowing that they have put their affairs in order. A way to know that they have provided for those they have left behind in the manner that they hope to. A way to make sure their final goals are accomplished.

I know it’s hard to talk to people about end of life decisions. I do it for a living. What may surprise you, though, is that it’s a lot harder for you than it is for them. People know they’re going to die one day. The older they get, the more comfortable they get with that prospect. The easier it gets for them to talk about it, and the more thankful they are that the awkward silence about the topic is broken. That is not true for everyone, of course, and your mileage may vary, but in general, the hardest part of the conversation is starting it. It gets a lot better after that.

This conversation becomes even more important if your parent has an illness or an infirmity that might eventually impact their ability to think clearly, whether due to the illness, or to medications given to combat the illness. Remember that a Will needs to be written by someone of sound mind and body. That’s more mind than body. The sooner a person takes care of their estate planning needs, the better, because the more sound of mind the person is, and the further from their passing they are, the less likely that an estate planning document can be challenged in court. Estate planning is something that people really like to put off, because it’s not a pleasant topoic. But it’s one of those things that the longer it’s put off, the more difficult and painful it becomes when it finally catches up to you.

Badger Lawyer has a partner site, Willnation.com, that allows you to help your parent prepare estate planning documents in the privacy of your own home, or, if you live in the Western Wisconsin area, you and your parent can make an appointment and have the documents prepared in person by the same lawyer.

Chris

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