No. of Recommendations: 3
A few years ago I attended an estate-planning seminar where the speaker said, "If you are naming someone as a guardian, trustee, personal representative, power of attorney, beneficiary; TELL THEM!!! Don't put your friends', children's, spouse's, names on any of your documents without their knowledge and consent! Trust me, people do NOT want to be surprised later on. Get their permission first. And after the documents are prepared, send them a copy."

So when DH & I prepared our documents, we had extra copies made which we sent to DD and DS.

Conversely, when my father was preparing his documents, I informed him that I would request (from his lawyer) a copy of anything that had my name in it. He didn't object, but I don't think it would have occurred to him on his own. He's not a plan-ahead type, and assumes people will just figure out what to do when the time comes.

Meanwhile, I think we should all have:
- copies of our parents' documents (ESPECIALLY Advance Medical Directive, if we're the ones who'll be making decisions in that regard),
- or at least knowledge of where the will is kept.

It's a difficult conversation. I was able to say, "Dad, DH & I just had our wills re-done, and I'm thinking that since Mom's been gone a year now, it might be time to update yours. So I made an appointment for you with Mr. X, an attorney who specializes in estate planning, for <date, time>. I'll pick you up at <time>, and we can go out to lunch afterwards. If that date's not convenient, please let me know and I'll have it re-scheduled, or you can call yourself. His contact info is:..."

So that worked. Knowing my father, if I'd only given him the info and left it to him to make the appointment, nothing would have happened, so I had to do that step myself, but obviously YMMV regarding what might work with your parents.

During the meeting, I stayed in the waiting room. I didn't want to tell my father what to do, or get into his business. I just wanted to have things taken care of that might involve me, and get info on what my involvement would be. My parents have always been extremely private people, so I was never able to say anything about their plans while my mother was alive, but when it was just my father, and I started thinking about having to deal with my estranged siblings later on, I pushed myself to get the estate planning taken care of. I took courage from a sort of Golden-Rule logic, requiring to be done for me what I had done for my children.

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