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Atlanta Wills and Trusts Lawyer Offers Ways to Approach “Tough Conversations” With Mom or Dad

estate plans for aging parentsWhen meeting with a wills and trusts lawyer in Atlanta for the first time, many adult children realize that they have no idea where their parents stand in terms of having the right plans in place to protect their assets and wishes if something happens to them.

Do their parents have a will or trust and, if so, where are these and other important documents located? Should assisted living or nursing home care become necessary, what plans are in place to cover the costs? Will mom or dad even have enough money after these costs to carry them through retirement?

These are some very important questions that need to be asked, and an experienced Atlanta GA wills and trusts lawyer can steer you in the right direction. That being said, no matter how good your relationship is with mom or dad, the subject can be a difficult one to approach.

Perhaps the best place to start is timing. Holidays such as Christmas, Hanukkah and Thanksgiving are known to be stressful times, so you might want to avoid these occasions. Current events often present the perfect opening, as there is always some Hollywood legend or financial mogul who dies leaving a fortune for the heirs to squabble over.

Or, the personal experience of a friend or relative can be worked into a dialogue. “So-and-So’s mother was admitted to the hospital recently and no one knew where to find her important papers.” For the adult child who is doing estate planning of their own, it would only be natural to want to discuss their parents’ plans with them during this time.

For some families, several conversations over a longer period of time might be a better approach. No one wants to feel like they are being told what to do, and money matters are often emotionally charged conversations to begin with.

Remember, advance preparations are in the best interests of the parents, so that their wishes can be carried out upon death.  Be sure to communicate this from the start to avoid your parents shutting down or getting defensive about the questions you are asking.

Finally, don’t forget to include the topic of long-term care in your conversations with mom or dad.   While no one likes to think about the possibility of becoming disabled or incapacitated by something like a stroke or Alzheimer’s disease, it does happen and it’s something that must be planned well in advance for.  If you start early enough, an Atlanta wills and trust lawyer can help you put the right plans in place to ensure mom or dad’s wishes during incapacity are honored and that they won’t be forced to sell or give away all of their assets in order to qualify for state or federal assistance.

Are you now ready to help your parents put a rock-solid plan in place that ensures their end-of-life wishes are honored to the fullest?  Then be sure to call our Atlanta wills and trusts lawyers for assistance.  With the mention of this article (“TOUGH CONVERSATIONS”), you may qualify for a Georgia Family Legacy Planning Session ($750 value), at no-charge.  Simply call 770-425-6060 to find out more.

Check The Oil, Rotate the Tires, and Update Your Estate Plan, Says Marietta GA Wills Lawyer

Check The Oil, Rotate the Tires, and Update Your Estate Plan, Says Marietta GA Wills Lawyer

If you own a car, you know it requires a regular maintenance in order to perform well and be reliable. When you purchased your car, you most likely received a recommended schedule for service.  If you follow that schedule, most likely your car will continue to work well.  If you don’t follow that schedule, you are taking the chance that your car will let you down.

Did you know that your estate plan also needs to be “serviced” on a regular basis?  Your estate plan is a snapshot of your life the way it was at the time it was created.  However, over time your family structure, your assets and the tax laws change so you should set a schedule to have your plan reviewed to make sure it doesn’t let you down.

So, when should you have your estate plan serviced? Any change in your personal, family, financial or health situation should prompt you to review your estate plan. But, in general, I recommend that you pick a date that you will remember to review the plan each year.  Your cue to remember this might be a birthday or anniversary…just any date that will jog your memory and allow you time to sit and read through your plan.

If you think a change is needed, do not write on your estate plan.  You should contact your Marietta GA wills lawyer.  Hopefully your attorney operates like us and does not charge for quick questions such as these.  You should be able to pick up the phone and speak to your attorney to ask whether your plan needs a tune-up.

You should also make sure that your Marietta GA wills lawyer will review your plan with you at no charge at least every three years.  There are some things that might impact your plan that you don’t know about such as changes in federal or state laws.

As a guide, I have given you a few events where you might want to review your plan:

You and Your Spouse

  • You marry, divorce or separate
  • Your or your spouse’s health declines
  • Your spouse dies
  • Value of assets changes dramatically
  • Change in business interests
  • You buy real estate in another state

Your Family

  • Birth or adoption
  • Marriage or divorce
  • Finances change
  • Parent/relative becomes dependent on you
  • Minor becomes adult
  • Attitude toward you changes
  • Health declines
  • Family member dies


  • Federal or state tax laws change
  • You plan to move to a different state
  • Your successor trustee, guardian or administrator moves, becomes ill or changes mind
  • You change your mind.

I hope that this list gives you an idea of whether you need your plan reviewed.  If you are no longer in touch with your Marietta wills lawyer, I welcome you to call our office at 770-425-6060 and let Karen know that you need an Estate Plan Checkup and I’ll be happy to review it with you at no charge if you mention the KICK THE TIRES post.

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