Do you have aging parents living in Florida? Do they live in their own home? Are they still able to successfully care for themselves? Are they able to prepare their own meals, do their own food shopping, keep their home clean, monitor their medicines and handle their finances? As you look to the future for your aging parents, do you have challenging questions about whether they are prepared for the future? Are you wondering how to find ways to ask your aging parents what they see in their future if they face physical and mental challenges? Have they made any preparations for these challenges (which may include mobility and physical challenges, changing health care or financial providers and aging in place issues, to name a few)?
All these challenges and issues your parents and you may face in the future can seem overwhelming. We would, therefore, advise you to sit down with your aging parents now, while they still have capacity, and ask all the challenging questions you may have in regard to any issues they may face as they grow older. We want to share a few questions for you to ask your aging parents sooner than later.
1. As your parents approach retirement, do they have short term goals? For example:
• When they are no longer earning a paycheck, will they be able to afford their lifestyle?
• Do they have any advancing health care concerns they should address now?
• Have they purchased long-term care insurance?
• Do they want to live in their home as long as they can or do they plan to relocate?
With challenging questions like the above, you and your parents can begin to find solutions. These solutions will enable you to help your aging parents to reach their goals.
2. What long-term goals do your parents have? Be aware that this may be a very sensitive question because no one wants to consider end of life plans or a time when only one spouse is alive. In addition, it is also very important to talk about a potential disability or the need for skilled care. Will there be a need for a nursing home? How will this care be paid for?
3. Do your parents want to remain in their own home as they age, also known as aging in place? Aging in place is still a fairly new term across the nation. The idea for your parents would be for them to stay in their own home and avoid skilled institutional care. So, as the topic comes up, begin talking to your aging parents about this as soon as possible. When it comes to aging in place, proactive planning is critical. If they want to pursue the idea of aging in place, they should meet with an experienced Florida estate planning and elder law attorney to address how they can meet their desire to age in place.
4. Do your parents have an estate plan? Is it up-to-date and does it reflect their current goals? Your parents, like many successful adults, have probably been very busy with their lives and may not have taken the time to create an estate plan. Therefore, the first step is to be sure your parents worked with an experienced Florida estate planning and elder law attorney and have an estate plan. If they do not have an estate plan, you need to explain to them that you do not want them in the vulnerable position of not being protected against probate or at risk of not having a healthcare decision maker in a time of crisis. If they did create an estate plan with a Florida estate planning and elder law attorney, be sure your parents are updating their estate plan annually and that it reflects their current wishes for their long term-care planning, decision makers and legacy.
We know this article may bring up more questions than it answers. Helping your aging parents address issues like this will both help you care for them and ensure everyone is working toward the same goal together.
Our estate planning law firm takes a very different approach from what you might have come to expect. Our goal is to create lifelong relationships with each of our clients, to guide and manage your legacy for the rest of your life. Please contact our offices in Stuart and in Palm City to learn more.