When do I discuss with my parents the assets of their estate, the existence of their estate plan and when to assist them?
The time to discuss your parents’ financial situation with them is now, if they will let you do so. Our parents are an independent and secretive bunch and do not like to be told what to do. One must tread lightly, however, the time to step in and help them is when you notice a late bill or their confusion over what bills they have. Other warning signs are: if their grooming habits change, if they are not interested in the same or any activities, have had a car accident or if someone is moving into their world and trying to keep you out.
You can give them information and discuss with them the fact that an attorney can provide the tools to help them and their children pay their bills and stay in their own home. These documents include, wills, living trusts, power of attorneys and health care directives.
If your parents no longer have the capacity or the ability to know what they own or who their heirs are, and they do not have any estate planning documents, we may need to do a conservatorship.