6 Estate Planning Questions Your Parents Should Answer

The essential issues your parents will address through estate planning

In deciding whether they need to do any estate planning, the key questions your parents should answer are whether there is any property they would like a particular person or charity to receive after their deaths and whether they have strong opinions about their medical care and final arrangements. If so, it's usually wise for them to get some simple documentation in writing to provide legal assurance that those wishes will be enforced.

Specifically, when considering whether to take any steps toward estate planning, your parents should ask themselves:

  1. What are my assets and what is their approximate value?

  2. What people or organizations do I want to have these assets -- and do I wish to give them up during my lifetime or after my death?

  3. Who should manage these assets during my lifetime if I become unable to do so, or after my death if management is needed?

  4. Who should be responsible for taking care of any minor or dependent children if I become unable to do so?

  5. Who should make decisions about my medical care and finances if I cannot make them?

  6. After I die, do I want my remains to be donated, cremated, scattered, or buried?

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