In this segment, B&E President Sarah Kaelberer shares critical documents you want in place not only for aging parents but for children age 18 and older.
Many people like myself have dealt both with caring for aging parents and launching our children – often at the same time! We are what is often called the sandwich generation. No doubt, it’s a time of life when we are balancing the transitions of children leaving home and our parent’s changing health and home needs.
I’m Sarah Kaelberer, President of Business & Estate Advisers.
The parent conversation seems very natural – to make sure they have their legal documents in order. What most don’t think about is having these for their kids too! If your children are over age 18 and they don’t have a formal documents, you may not be able to help much if they are in a bind!
Let me explain these formal documents. A Healthcare Directive is a legal document that defines a person’s healthcare wishes, in the event that they are unable to communicate to them. A designated Power of Attorney manages financial affairs, pays bills, and makes financial decisions. It’s important to have both legal documents in place.
Heaven forbid something happens and your child ends up in the hospital. Without a Healthcare Directive, legally there is not much you as a parent can decide on their care. Sure, they will let you visit and help fluff pillows, but not much else!
And often these adult children still have bills to pay and financial matters to take care of during this time. Yes, you are limited there too! Their rent, utilities, bills and all still need to get paid. But we have little access to information or accounts to get that done. A Power of Attorney can give you that access.
So you can see that Healthcare Directives and Powers of Attorney legal documents are very important for our children age 18 and older, AND for our parents. But again, we think of those things naturally for our parents, just not our kids.
As for our parents, we encourage families with aging parents to be open and honest, maybe hold a family meeting to discuss their parents’ estate plan and who will handle such matters if and when mom and dad need it. And while these conversations are great, it’s the legal documents that make it possible for you to honor their wishes.
Outside of the typically legal documents like these Healthcare directives, Powers of Attorney and of course the Wills and Trusts, there are a few other tools that are less well known but becoming more prevalent.
Many folks really like to do an Ethical Will. This is more of a letter than a legal document. One writes this letter to their heirs to clearly communicate their hopes, dreams, wishes and desires. It focuses on the ethics and values that matter in life, it’s beyond the dollars and cents. It requires time and effort, but not money. It’s not a legal or binding document, but it has tremendous value.
There is also the Trusted Contact Form. At age 65 and older, due to circumstances beyond their control, a person can become a vulnerable adult. As a result, a Trusted Contact Form is now more commonplace on insurance contracts and investment accounts. As an example, if your parent forgets to pay their life insurance or long-term care premiums, their Trusted Contact would be alerted, and could intervene and prevent cancellation of the plan. If an unusual or questionable request is made on an investment account, the adviser has another person they can inform. This form is NOT the same as a designated Power of Attorney document, but it is back-up support that could be on file.
Both personally and professionally, I understand the critical importance of having these kind of documents in place for our children age 18 and older and for our aging parents.
With your interest in mind, we at B&E strive to help you live with peace of mind while caring for yourself, your children and your parents.
Securities offered through Valmark Securities, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment Advisory Services offered through B&E Investment Advisers, Inc. a State Registered Investment Adviser that is a separate entity from Valmark Securities Inc.