Aging Parents Final Wishes
Caring for our aging parents is a task many of us are asked to do – and one many of us are happy to do, considering the years they took care of us, from infancy through adolescence. Unfortunately, switching these two roles around is not an easy one for aging parents to deal with often times, but it’s something that they likely had to deal with for their parents at one time, too.
We came up with these 9 questions to help you determine their final wishes after death. While they’re all important to ask, you don’t have to ask them all at once, of course. You can wisely pepper them into different conversations. One great way to do that is to discuss your own plans for the future, and ask them for their advice, before asking them the harder questions.
- Do You Have a Will or Living Trust?
Make sure they have a legal will or trust that expresses how they’d like their finances and assets to be shared after they pass. Find out who the executor of their will is, also. If they don’t have a will or trust – implore them to get one created, and help facilitate that.
- Do You Have a Living Will?
This helps their loved ones know what to do in case they become too ill or incapacitated to make decisions for themselves, including whether or not to use life support.
- Where Are Your Wills, Important Documents Located?
They might have all of the legal documentation, but if you don’t know where it is, it might not be found in time to follow through with their wishes. Find out where their tax files, property deeds, safe deposit boxes and other important documents might be found.
- What Insurance Do You Have – and Where Are the Policies?
This goes along with the previous question, but it’s important to track this information down for claims to be filed.
- What Are the Names of Your Doctors and Legal Professionals?
It’s always good to have a contact to talk to in case anything goes wrong with them physically, so you can ask them questions. The same goes for their investments and bank accounts
- What Financial Accounts Do You Have?
Find out where their bank accounts are and if they have a Payable-On-Death beneficiary or else their accounts will have to go through probate. This way, you can notify the banks, triggering the payments to their payable-on-death beneficiaries. Also, do they have investments anywhere, and ask if they have beneficiaries set up for them?
- Where Would You Consider Moving?
It’s important to ask them about assisted-living facilities and what level of retirement home facilities they might be comfortable with. Some parents have already thought all of this through, and they’ve set up arrangements with a facility ahead of time, but you need to know these things.
- How Would You Like Your Memorial Service to Happen?
Are there any religious or family traditions they’d like carried out during their funeral? What type of music would they like played? Are there any scriptures or poems they’d like read to the loved ones that came to celebrate their life?
- Do You Want to Be Buried or Cremated?
Some people have strong feelings one way or the other, but it’s important that you know their wishes in this regard. A burial is certainly more expensive because they have to purchase a casket, but some people prefer not to be cremated. They also might have already done planned funeral arrangements with a local funeral home, and maybe they’ve purchased a burial plot already. These are all things you need to be aware of.
If they do choose cremation, would they prefer to have their ashes spread somewhere, like a body of water or somewhere peaceful on their property? Or do they want to have their ashes buried in a plot or a tomb?
Our aging parents deserve to have their final wishes fulfilled as to their resting place and how they’d like all of their property and belongings shared with friends and family. Some well-timed, thoughtful questions asked now can save you and your family difficulty during the grieving process.
You can also talk to a professional, like those at The Gardens at Boca Raton – Cemetery and Funeral Services, and ask them for some guidance on things to ask your aging parents.