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Adult children may assist parents in estate planning

West Virginia is largely a family-oriented state. It is not unusual for family members to live near each other and to know with some familiarity the general financial affairs of each other. In this close-knit, communicative environment, it can be helpful for adult children to check with their parents on the status of any estate planning that they have accomplished.

Although the parents may occasionally see such entreaties as self-serving, it is more likely that they will be grateful for the interest and the help. If they are not prepared with an existing estate plan, the impetus provided by the sincere interest of the children can be the spark that gets the process initiated and successfully executed. Along the way, there are recommended guidelines to follow in making the process a smooth ride for all.

The best way to start is to arrange a meeting with the parents. This can be billed as a private matter for family only. Attributing a somewhat formal perception at the outset may be the right touch as opposed to presenting it in too casual or flippant a manner.

The focus should be on what the parents want and should not be engineered or seen as a self-promoting project for any one of the children. Having all adult children on board is another plus, indicating the congenial but committed unanimity of the participants. Getting across to the parents that the children want to be as prepared as possible about the parents' needs for the future will assure them of the appropriate nature of the effort.

It is important not to go through  the whole process by using self-help or internet do-it-yourself tactics. An internet kit to construct the personal needs and goals of a lifetime, framed within a legal context, can be a treacherous undertaking. The reassurance that comes with using an estate planning attorney experienced in West Virginia law will be well worth the lasting results. Finishing the process off by telling one's parents that the person's own estate planning has been finalized or updated will be a good way to reassure them that they have done the right thing.

Source: pe.com, "Women on Money and Mindset: Talking estate planning with your parents", Patti Cotton, Aug. 23, 2017

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