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Estate planning: Top 3 mistakes families make

Mortality is a reality, but your family legacy can live on. Mom and dad have worked hard to provide for your family, and as they are aging, perhaps you have considered walking them through estate planning to protect their wealth.

As you prepare and seek professional assistance with this important process, you can avoid common mistakes that often complicate an already intricate process.

1. Avoiding the topic

Death discussions can be uncomfortable. “Thank you for inviting me over for dinner. Now, let’s talk about your end-of-life wishes!” It may be difficult to find an appropriate time to discuss such a potentially painful topic, but ignoring the inevitable could cause future headaches. Wouldn’t you rather know exactly what your parent’s estate administration plans are versus making assumptions?

2. Excluding primary family members

Do you have a narcissistic brother you haven’t heard from in years?  Does your mom or dad still have a solid relationship with him? As you help with arrangements, bear in mind that you are helping with his or her requests versus deliberately omitting your brother or other family members due to your own disagreements.

3. Planning too late

Falls happen. Brain injuries happen. Life is precious, and if a parent loses his or her capacity to make decisions, it may be too late to fully understand and fulfill their needs. Planning too late can bring extra challenges, and you may also have to petition for guardianship if your parent cannot sign a durable power of attorney or last will and testament. Inaction or delay could cause emotional and financial woes down the road.

Communication is key. Rather than potentially missing your opportunity to support, taking steps now to assist your parent with arrangements can help ease your minds for the future.