Father’s Day is coming up in a few weeks, and we all have different things that we love about our dads. Dads might be the protectors of the family, but they might need protection themselves, as they get older. Helping your father with his estate plan is a long-lasting gift that will give him (and you) peace of mind. Here are some ways that kids can help their parents by setting up an estate planning meeting with an attorney.
As people get older, their health tends to become a little more precarious. Even someone in great shape one day can have a change the next. When it comes to healthcare, there are some major tools in the estate planning toolkit. Namely, you can set up a healthcare directive.
A healthcare directive is a document that lays out your father’s health wishes, whether these include a DNR order, special diet instructions (such as religious restrictions), or other important beliefs. If your father is too incapacitated to verbalize these decisions to the doctors and nurses taking care of him, the healthcare directive will do it for him.
A power of attorney is a trusted individual that your dad picks to handle his financial, legal, and/or medical affairs in the even that he isn’t able to make those decisions for himself. There can be more than one power of attorney, and each power of attorney can be limited in scope.
A general scope POA handles all of the decisions that your dad needs made. A special POA is restricted to just a certain decision-making field, whether it’s healthcare decisions or finances. Your father will pick the power of attorney, and the idea is to pick someone who is stable and level-headed. A power of attorney isn’t forever—it isn’t permanently taking power away. It comes into effect when in the event that your dad needs help when he’s older.
Updating Wills and Estate Plans
The rule of thumb states that you should update and/or review your will and estate plan every three to five years. However, if you experience a major life event, such as new people in the family, divorces, health scares, etc., you should update it earlier to reflect those changes.
Updating an estate plan can take a long time, especially if there are a lot of documents in the plan. It can take even longer to create a new estate plan from scratch, if your father doesn’t have one in place. Though it takes a lot of time and effort, your dad is worth it.
Setting Up a Trust
If your father knows he wants to transfer a specific piece of property/money to someone and has been talking about it forever (but hasn’t done it yet), helping him set up a trust is a great idea. A trust is a three-party relationship. Your father is the donor. He transfers title to the property to the trustee. The trustee then transfers the property to the beneficiary, which is the person that your father intended to get the property all along. The trustee keeps the property in his possession until instructed to transfer it—usually, the transfer goes through upon death.
If your dad owns his own business, making sure that there are business succession plans in the works will keep his company safe after he retires or passes on. Perhaps he wants his company liquidated and the proceeds distributed, or maybe he wants his company to merge with another. Putting in place a concrete plan for what will happen to the business will be hugely beneficial to your father’s financial stability.
Setting up your father’s power of attorney is just one of many ways that the law can help him as he gets older. Estate planning is a way to ensure long-term safety and financial stability of your dad.