Estate Planning for the Elderly: Legal and Financial Tips for the Golden Age

No one likes to talk about death and finances together with their aging parents or grandparents. It usually comes off as rude because it implies that you’re rushing to get their assets. While avoiding the topic is usually the polite thing to do, it can suddenly backfire.

Hence, it’s often too late when they want to start talking about estate planning and money management. 

It becomes a race against time for them if something happens to their parent/s. For example, if symptoms of Alzheimer’s start to show, you need to make sure their documents are in order. However, that sort of business can get confusing and overwhelming so hiring an estate planning lawyer is recommended.

You might lose all the investments and assets they built up if you’re not careful. That’s why we’ll talk about estate planning and what you need to accomplish it. We’ll discuss the important factors you need for estate planning and why they are important.

What is estate planning?

It’s the preparation of tasks that aim to manage someone’s assets in case they die or become incapacitated. The process includes bequeathing assets to heirs and settling estate taxes. It can be overwhelming alone so this is usually done with the assistance of estate planning lawyers. 

The estate planning lawyers are experts who know every step of the process, so they can confidently guide you. They can help protect your family and its legacies, ensuring you manage what’s rightfully yours. Part of estate planning involves managing how a person’s assets will be preserved and distributed. 

It should have instructions on managing said properties and finances if they’re incapacitated. The assets mentioned could consist of houses, cars, stocks, debt, artworks, life insurance, and pensions. Though the reasons may vary, estate planning is a necessary step you and your family will need to take.

Why is estate planning important?

Estate planning is often misconceived as financial conversations with the elderly to prepare for what’s to come. However, the problem with this is that the very notion makes it difficult to talk about. Framing the discussion around the concept of “protection” will make it more bearable for both parties. That’s because it doesn’t look like you’re aiming for their assets, but looking for ways to ensure it’s properly protected.

Convince them to look at it this way – without estate planning, it’s the court that will decide what happens. That can take years even with the help of a lawyer which makes it very expensive. If they delay estate planning when their health is declining, it also puts their healthcare at risk. 

They’ll need someone competent to make decisions on their behalf if anything needs to be signed. It also helps protect your beneficiaries, like your kids and they can use your assets to help your grandkids. It’s getting more difficult to raise children in today’s economy and your assets can help them through college.

What do you need for estate planning?

  1. Wills and trusts

A will or testamentary will is a legal document used for transferring one’s estate to their beneficiaries post-death. The owner gets to declare their wishes regarding their estate and assets and who becomes the executor.

The executor is someone who ensures that the wishes in the will are carried out. Hence, it should be someone who the owner of the will greatly trusts, often the eldest or most responsible child. Whoever is chosen needs to be informed ahead of time.

While wills are often shown to be read as a surprise in dramas, it’s best to talk to the family about it. That way, the owner can address questions and ensure that everyone is on the same page. The owner can also attach a letter to the will to provide explanations regarding their decisions.

Meanwhile, trust is an agreement that lets the grantor transfer property to a trustee. The trustee keeps it until the beneficiaries can claim the property. In estate planning, trusts can help minimize taxes and put restrictions on asset distribution.

  1. Healthcare power of attorney and living will

The healthcare power of attorney is a document that becomes active when you’re incapacitated. You name a person like a family member or caregiver who will make decisions regarding your healthcare. That person becomes your healthcare proxy and must be informed of your medical wishes.

Meanwhile, a living will is a document that outlines your choices regarding post-death treatment. Like a healthcare power of attorney, the living will is only active when you’re alive but cannot communicate your decisions. These are important because it spares your loved ones from making difficult choices about your healthcare.

  1. Beneficiaries

They are the people in the will or trust who will receive or inherit the owner’s assets. If you want to leave a legacy, you have to select your beneficiaries. They can be your spouse, children, grandchildren, and close friends and relatives. Charities also count as beneficiaries if you want to ask your lawyer to list that down.

Checklist for estate planning

  1. A list of assets and debts
  2. Necessary supporting documents
  3. A power of attorney
  4. Drafted estate planning documents
  5. The talk with your family
  6. Regular review of documents


No child would want to ask their aged parent about plans regarding their death and the events after that. Approached from the wrong angle, you risk looking like a money grubber looking forward to their inheritance. However, estate planning is an important discussion every aged parent should have with a lawyer or their child. Otherwise, there’s a risk that the parent’s assets won’t make it to their kids, let alone their grandkids.

In a way, estate planning is necessary to protect their legacy and so that their assets can help their children. They’re able to have someone reliable manage their assets, rather than leave them to the court. For proper estate planning, there are three important factors to consider. These are a will and trust, healthcare power of attorney and living will, and beneficiaries. A lawyer can guide you through the whole process smoothly since it can be very overwhelming.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *