Talking to your parents about their future

Some of the initial enquiries we get about Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) are from children of prospective clients, concerned that their parents haven't put provisions in place to plan for the future.

In this blog, our Private Client specialist, Carolyn Snellgrove, explains how children can help their parents get things sorted without pressuring them.

Understandably, children find these things hard to discuss with parents as it means bringing up difficult subjects of death and incapacity - not something anyone wants to think about, especially not when it involves their loved ones.

We are always happy to have an initial, general chat with children, but we can only, and do only, take instructions for a Will or LPA from the person whose document it is. Here are some top tips for children who want to talk to their parents about these things:

1. It is good that you are talking about this. However hard it is to bring up, it is always best to have discussed these issues frankly while things are good and all parties are healthy and well. It is much easier for people to make decisions in 'the cold light of day' than it is for them if or when these issues become a reality.

2. Find out some facts first. It is much easier to discuss these issues if you know what you're talking about! Speak to a local solicitor to find out the kinds of things your parents should be thinking about and use those as your basis for the discussion.

3. Pick a good time. Halfway through Christmas lunch is probably not the time; neither is a 10pm phone call out of the blue. But a relaxed day with lots of time for a full conversation is ideal. Think about how you would want someone to talk to you about it if the tables were turned.

4. Talk about the positives. There are lots of positives to getting organised and putting things in place now. It gives everyone peace of mind and reassures family & friends that what their loved one wants is what's going to happen because it's legally recorded.

- Life with an LPA is a lot simpler than without one if an application has to be made to the Court of Protection.

- Estates are often more smoothly dealt with when there is a clearly drafted, valid Will in place.

5. Don't put pressure on and don't rush it. Unless there are medical reasons to hurry up then allow the person some time to process what you're suggesting. These are important things to do and you are giving big responsibilities to your executors and attorneys which shouldn't be taken lightly. On the other hand, don't let it drag out for years either.

6. Help them pick a good Solicitor. This can be hard to do if you don't know someone already but professional advice is key. Things to look out for are whether that solicitor is STEP qualified meaning that they are specifically trained to deal with Trusts and Estates, and whether they are a member of Solicitors for the Elderly meaning they've had specific training to deal effectively and kindly with older clients. Personal recommendations are always good too.

For more information about Wills or Lasting Powers of Attorney, contact Carolyn on the details below.

Carolyn Snellgrove

Nelson Myatt Solicitors LLP

01492 588200

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