5 Questions to Discuss With Your Aging Parents

I know. I get it. Who wants to talk about planning for the death of a loved one or how our aging parents want to live their golden years. It's not an easy conversation and some are down right uncomfortable talking about it.

I've seen first hand how not talking about your expected retirement lifestyle, last wishes, and whether or not you have a will or trust can really divide a family. The sooner you start the conversation the better.

Caring for an aging loved one can be expensive and emotionally taxing. Planning ahead can help all involved to be prepared. Here are 5 things to consider talking about with our aging parents to ensure that everyone gets and remains on the same page as we continue to honor our elders.

1. Estate Planning: Do you have a Will or Trust?

Having a Will or a Trust will save a family a whole lot of time and heartache. This is something we would want our parents to address sooner rather than later. But first, let's understand the difference between a Will and a Trust so that we know which document will be needed.

Many people decide to create a Will because it is quick, easy and cheap. It is basically a written document that spells out a persons last wishes for their possessions and naming guardianship. It becomes active once the Will writer dies. This document can be changed and updated until the date of death.

A Trust becomes active immediately and are a bit more intricate and complicated. You will likely need a lawyer to establish your Trust. When creating a Trust, you are essentially transferring your estate into the name of the Trust and a Trustee will manage the title and/or assets for the benefit of a third party (probably the heirs).

Don't fall into the misconception that because you don't have a lot, you don't need either one of these documents. You can have both documents if you wish, but the first step is to learn more about both.

This is a high level description of Wills and Trusts and there are several different types of Wills and Trusts. There is a plethora of information out there to help you along this journey. Financial Freedom is a book that I recommend you can start with.