For a mom, making sure that her kids will be well cared for if she is no longer able to do so is the greatest gift you can give. One way to do this is by offering her the peace of mind that comes with a solid Estate Plan. Helping her to be certain that her assets accumulated throughout her lifetime of devotion of caring for her family are passed on in the smartest way, and in accordance with her wishes.
Not saying you shouldn’t write her a card or organize a Sunday brunch, but perhaps this Mother's Day might also be an opportunity to do something with a longer-lasting magnitude– an Estate Plan that reflects both her love and her wishes for her family.
How do you help establish an Estate Plan for your Mom?
Your role in protecting your parents' legacy can be of utmost importance. You remember when you were sitting down for “the talk”. Indeed, there were probably several “talks”. These “talks” were likely a little weird or maybe very awkward and super weird, but they served a purpose, an important purpose!
So, Mother’s Day might be time for you to sit Mom down for a “talk”. Perhaps wait until after the brunch or other festivities, to discuss what your parents and you may have been avoiding. Namely, starting a conversation with your Mom about her Estate Plan, including how she wants her end-of-life medical decisions and final wishes to be carried out, how she wants her assets distributed, and how she wants the process managed.
Suggestions When Talking to Mom About Her Legacy:
Take advantage of the time you have. You’re on the right track by helping her think about this today. It can be incredibly beneficial to be proactive rather than letting things drift and not taking the bull by the horns. Estate planning now can provide relief in knowing that one’s affairs are in order. Mom will gain that peace of mind that comes with knowing the right plans are in place to protect her assets for those she loves.
You may need to explain that being organized and having an Estate Plan ensures Mom’s wishes are carried out as she would want them to be. Help Mom understand the value of getting organized early on so her wishes are expressed carefully and carried out according to her plan and not by some stranger in Probate Court.
Explain to her that estate planning is the chance to choose someone as her Power of Attorney. Encourage her to select her Power of Attorney sooner rather than later. Given that many important decisions will be made by this person, the person she chooses should be someone who is reliable, trustworthy. Your Mom needs to feel confident that her Power of Attorney understands her plans and wishes. My Mom insisted on being in charge her whole life. She wasn’t about to let a little thing like death change that! Perhaps your Mom has a similar outlook.
Estate Planning Logistics To Ponder:
Getting to the core of your Mother’s wishes can take time and consideration. Your Mom may or may not be familiar with the legalese or the many estate planning definitions, but they all need to be carefully explained in a way that she fully understands, and in a way that she can feel proud of you and herself for handling and managing her Estate Plan.
Key Talking Points in “The Talk”
Does she have an existing Estate Plan? Is it up to date?
Side-stepping unnecessary and or unwanted and costly legal, estate administration fees such as Probate.
Making sure her assets go directly to the people and/or cause she chooses.
End-of-life planning, such as funeral and burial preferences.
Gather Info and Get Smart About Finances
Mom’s sources of income
Mortgage balances outstanding
Insurance policies and policy details
Her medical history and current health issues
Is there a current financial advisor? If so, what is the contact information for that advisor? If not, how is she making financial decisions?
Whether she has a documented Will, Living Will and Power of Attorney
In a general or specific way how she would want her money shared (example - family, friends, charity or some combination}
Banking info and asset info
There’s no doubt that when talking about your last Will and Testament, it can bring to the surface a lot of emotion. It may seem counterintuitive that Mother’s Day should be a catalyst for such a conversation. But in the true spirit of the inventors of Mother’s Day, it’s about caring for the caregiver. That’s because it’s very likely that Mom has already been thinking about how she would like to handle her end-of-life affairs and estate management. Or maybe Mom is unsure how to begin the estate planning process or how to bring it up with her loved ones without upsetting any of them. By initiating the conversation with your mother, you may be lifting a huge weight of concern off her shoulders.
Mother’s Day is about paying homage to the woman that gave you life– celebrating the woman that has been there for you through good times and bad. It’s a day to show your Mom how much she means to you, and how much you appreciate all she has done for you. So this Mother’s Day, while you are celebrating your Mom, take some time to bring up the estate planning conversation.
At Trust & Will, we’re here to help you keep things simple. You can create a fully customizable, state-specific Estate Plan from the comfort of your own home in just 20 minutes. Take our free quiz to see where you should get started, or compare our different estate planning options. Get started today!
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