Should you ask your parents about their estate planning? Pennsylvania law favors those who have well-written estate plans.
Your parents do not have to be high net-worth individuals to benefit from taking care of estate planning now. Failure to leave a set of instructions can result in tax problems and create stress for the surviving family members.
Figuring out what is missing
Do your parents have a will? There are statistics that suggest 58% of American adults do not. Do they have advance directives? Now is a good time to add this to the conversation.
Help your parents find their papers that prove ownership to cars, homes, and other property. Discuss the titling of the different instruments. For example, do they have joint accounts with rights of survivorship? Do their accounts name beneficiaries? Is there someone they would like to act as executor who will take charge of the probate process?
Looking ahead to additional needs
Right now, your parents are healthy. What happens if this changes? Do you need a power of attorney to guide their financial or health care decisions? Explain to your parents that they will still be independent adults and that the agreement only goes into effect when there is mental or physical incapacity.
If you have questions about estate planning, contact an attorney who is experienced in this area of the law.