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Do You Know Where Your Parents’ Estate Documents Are?

If you don’t know exactly where your parents’ estate plan documents are, you may be surprised to learn that you are not alone. More than half of the people in a recent survey don’t even know if their parents have estate planning documents!

The bad news is that this can be a serious problem.

The good news is that it can easily be fixed.

When it comes to having a conversation with your parents regarding these important documents, we understand that it may not always be easy and can often be very emotional. The difficulty in this situation sometimes pertains to the fact that many aging parents don’t want to discuss after‐life plans (it’s awkward and uncomfortable to say the least), and often the children of these parents rarely want to acknowledge the fact that their parents are beginning to age and won’t be around forever. However, for everyone’s benefit, the conversation still needs to take place.

If you are having trouble just starting the conversation, please read through our post on How to Bring Up End of Life Discussions for some very useful tips.

If your parents already have these documents completed, set aside some time to go over the details with them. For those who are very private people, it might be easier to have the discussion with fewer people, perhaps just a father and son or just a mother and daughter? Be sure to take note of how recently your parents’ estate documents were updated. These documents, along with the rest of your estate plan, should be reviewed at least every five years–more often if there is a change in the law, your finances or personal circumstances.

Be sure to find out exactly where your parents keep their original estate planning documents in case you ever need to access them. It would also be valuable to keep copies for yourself as well and file them in a safe and accessible place.

Bottom line is that now is a good time to discuss your parents’ plans (and to know where their documents are) – before the time comes when you actually need to put the estate plan in place.

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