A Critical Conversation

Tips for starting a dialogue with your parents thats crucial to preserving family wealth

critical and it’s tough to gauge how much it will cost in coming years. It’s important to make sure that eligible seniors are enrolled in Medicare prescription drug plans and have Medigap insurance to help cover the co-payments and deductibles, says Evans-Motte. What’s more, with the average annual cost of a private room in a nursing home nearing $78,000 per year, long-term care insurance should be a part of the conversation. If parents can’t afford long-term care insurance, consider buying a policy for them. “I have some clients where the children are paying for their parent’s long-term care policy,” says Lee V. Bethel, president of Comprehensive Benefit Services Inc. in Alexandria, Virginia. “Paying $150 or $200 a month for the policy is certainly better than having to come up with $3,000 or $4,000 a month [for a nursing home].”

Also consider burial costs. Does the person have adequate life insurance? After his grandfather died, Sumner learned that his mother, Yvonne Heron, did not have life insurance. “I took out a life insurance policy for my mom that I’ve paid so I wouldn’t go through what I went through with my grandfather,” he says.

4. Wills and medical directives Not only do you need to know if parents have a will, but you should know where it is, says Patrick Simon, a probate attorney in Dallas. Also determine who will make medical decisions if your parent is unable to do so. If someone becomes incapacitated, it’s important that there’s a medical power of attorney in place for that person, Simon says.

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