In helping clients with their estate planning and elder care needs, it seems that some families keep secrets until death and others are more open about the financial affairs of elderly parents.
Understandably, most parents do not share their financial information with their children until after the parents start to reach their sixties and seventies. However, if the elderly parents fail to take advantage of effective estate planning strategies that cloak of secrecy may result in unfortunate circumstances for the surviving children. In several recent cases, the attorneys at Durden & Mills, PC have assisted family members in handling the estates of their deceased parent whose affairs were not in proper order which could have been streamlined if proper planning techniques were implemented. Since the adult children were not aware that appropriate arrangements had not already been made, they did not make any efforts to help in the process.
Many times, older adults fail to realize the significance of not organizing their financial affairs. In more than one case, we have seen financial accounts being distributed to unintended persons as a result of joint account designations which were not intended to provide survivorship rights. Other problems occur when appropriate arrangements are not made concerning family estates which could have been transferred pre-death to avoid substantial outstanding debts or reimbursement claims.
We have also tried to assist family members in reviewing heaps of financial records to determine which accounts were outstanding and whether the life insurance policies were still valid. This is understandably a frustrating process after the death or sudden incapacity of a loved one. Please consider the value of organizing your financial affairs in advance so that your children will not be forced to untangle the mess after your death or incapacity.
It is typically recommend that at least one adult child or other responsible adult who is named as Power-of-Attorney have access to a document which describes the location of your important legal documents and a listing of various financial accounts and real estate holdings. While the document may be sealed in an envelope to protect your immediate privacy, it would always be available in the event of an emergency or your untimely death.
If you would like to discuss how to organize your financial affairs and discuss various estate planning strategies, please consider calling the attorneys at Durden & Mills, PC. Call us at (706) 543-4708 for a free consultation.