AGING & CARING: 5 legal documents you need for your parents


These documents will ensure that you can assist your parents in a medical or financial emergency and, at their deaths, ease the distribution of their estate:

A medical directive

Also known as a living will or advance health care directive, this document sets out what kind of care your parents want to receive if and when they become ill or incapacitated.

A durable power of attorney for healthcare and HIPAA release

A durable power of attorney for healthcare allows you to make healthcare decisions for your parents. A HIPAA release gives you access to your parents’ health records and physicians.

A durable power of attorney for finances

A durable power of attorney for finances allows you to manage your parents’ financial affairs, pay bills, sell property, and so on.

A revocable living trust

It allows your parents to retain control over their estate while making transfers of assets to beneficiaries. Your parents designate what property (home, investments, jewelry, and so on) goes into the trust and to whom it will be granted.

During their lifetimes, your parents act as executors of their own living trust. A revocable living trust has an important advantage: it allows their estate to avoid probate at the time of their deaths.

A will

A will makes clear who will receive your parents’ assets and personal property. A properly written will helps to avoid disagreements over your parents’ estate after their deaths.

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3 comments Add your comment


August 19th, 2009
10:43 am

Enter your comments here

Terri Benincasa

August 20th, 2009
11:28 am

Thanks much – we Boomers really need this information.


October 13th, 2009
5:35 pm

It is so good to see more information out about this topic- many adult children fear addressing this until it a crisis occurs. Lots of tears could be avoided if families discussed this when parents are healthy! Lisa- Geriatric Care Manager