Estate Planning with Aging Parents: Securing the Future

Make sure your loved ones are provided for in the future with estate planning. Learn tips for creating an estate plan and how to protect your family’s assets.

April 10, 2023
Estate Planning with Aging Parents: Securing the Future

Estate planning for aging parents can be an intimidating task. However, when thinking about their future, estate planning for elderly parents is an important step that shouldn’t be skipped. 

With the right guidance and preparation, estate planning for parents can help ensure your family’s financial stability as well as peace of mind. So, read on as we provide guidance on estate planning for parents and navigating factors like the power of attorney, wills, taxes, and other legal and financial requirements.

What is Estate Planning?

Estate planning for aging parents involves making plans and creating legal documents to ensure that all of their most important assets and belongings are distributed according to their wishes. This type of planning also involves developing strategies to reduce taxes and minimize other expenses related to end-of-life decisions. 

Estate planning helps families save time, money, and stress by outlining clear instructions for handling a loved one's affairs after they pass away. It can provide peace of mind and protect financial security for surviving family members, allowing them to focus on the emotional strain of dealing with loss.

Benefits of Estate Planning for Protecting Assets

When it comes to estate planning, a major concern is asset protection. Asset protection ensures they will be distributed in accordance with your parent’s wishes. Not having a plan in place leaves assets at risk of creditors, lawsuits, and other potential threats. If you have an effective plan in place, you can make sure that your parent’s assets are protected for the sake of your family's future and ensure that any financial benefits are passed on to the appropriate people. 

By creating a trust or establishing specific asset management rules, estate planning can also help prevent heirs from squandering any inherited assets. Not only will this keep your assets safe, but it will provide your aging parents peace of mind knowing that your inheritance is secure. 

Estate planning may also reduce the amount of taxes owed on an estate. Depending on the specifics of a person’s estate, there may be a variety of options available to minimize the amount of taxes owed. This can include gifting assets before death or establishing trusts to pass assets on to heirs. An experienced legal advisor can help families identify tax-efficient strategies for estate planning and asset protection. 

Overall, estate planning provides families with an opportunity to secure their assets while ensuring they are protected and distributed according to their wishes. With an effective plan in place, families can rest assured that their loved ones will receive the assets they intended to leave behind without having to worry about unexpected taxes or expenses.

Guidelines for Designating Power of Attorney

When it comes to estate planning for aging parents, one of the most important aspects is the designation of a power of attorney. This is the legal document that gives an adult child or other family member authority to act on behalf of their elderly parent in the event they become incapacitated or are otherwise unable to make decisions for themselves.

Before designating a power of attorney, it’s important to understand the different types of power of attorney: 

  • Health care: A health care power of attorney provides permission for a personal representative to make medical decisions on behalf of the parent. 
  • Financial: A financial power of attorney is limited to managing financial matters such as bills, banking, investments, etc. 
  • General: Falling under the financial POA umbrella, a general power of attorney allows someone to make decisions on behalf of your elderly parent regarding their assets, finances, and any legal affairs. 
  • Durable: A durable power of attorney is also a type of financial power of attorney. However, this type remains in charge of all legal and financial matters if the parent becomes incapacitated.

When choosing a power of attorney, it’s best to pick someone who is reliable and trustworthy. This decision is ultimately up to your parent—it’s their wealth that is being handled, so it’s important to respect their wishes. A good rule of thumb is to choose someone who shares your parent’s values and is capable of handling the responsibility. Power of attorney can be revoked at any time if your parent has the capacity to do so.

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Considerations for Writing Wills

When it comes to managing who receives what, children of aging can ask to see their parent’s will  to know the estate plan they have in place. Wills are an essential part of estate planning, as they provide instructions on how to distribute property and assets. 

It’s also important to understand how the parent wishes to handle certain important decisions before they pass away, such as healthcare decisions and home care options available to them or end-of-life decisions. Living trusts and living wills can help provide clarity and guidance. However, according to a 2023 survey by, only about a third of American adults have a will or other estate planning document, so make sure to work with your aging parents to help them create a will. 

Beneficiary Designation Forms

You should be aware of any beneficiary designation forms your parent may have filled out. These forms dictate who will receive certain assets when they pass away and overpowers what is in the will. In other words, beneficiary designation allows the parent to decide who will receive specific property and assets, even if their wishes don’t match what’s written in the will. It’s important to make sure that these forms are filled out properly, with all required signatures and notarization, to ensure that the parent’s wishes are honored.

Living Trusts

A living trust is another important document to include in estate planning considerations for an aging parent. A living trust is a legal document that allows the parent to transfer ownership of their assets to a trustee for the benefit of one or more beneficiaries. This can help provide a secure future for the parent and their loved ones, as it can ensure that their assets are distributed according to their wishes.

End-of-Life Decisions

Finally, it’s important to discuss end-of-life decisions with your aging parent. A living will provides clear instructions on the parent’s wishes should they become unable to make medical decisions on their own. This document should be discussed with an attorney and be signed by both the parent and witnesses in order to be valid. 

Making these important decisions with your aging parent is never easy. Knowing the estate plan your parent has in place and being aware of any beneficiary designations, living trusts, and living wills they have will help make sure their wishes are honored.

Importance of Legal Guidance

The estate planning process involves many decisions. To ensure that everything is handled appropriately and legally, it is important to seek the advice of a qualified elder law or estate planning attorney. An attorney can provide helpful legal advice and assist with the different types of documents and agreements involved in the estate planning process. 

When it comes to financial matters such as wills, trusts, and powers of attorney, it is essential to work with a lawyer who is well-versed in these areas. An attorney can provide guidance on all aspects of estate planning, including real estate, investments, and taxes. Legal advice is also critical for making sure that the rights and wishes of your aging parent are respected and properly carried out. 

Simplify the Process with a Sale-Leaseback

To simplify this process ahead of time, consider a sale-leaseback transaction. With Truehold’s Sale-Leaseback, your parent can sell their home for a competitive price. They can then continue living in their home as a renter. This way, you and your parent can use their home equity to enjoy their retirement years, without the added worry of additional costs and responsibilities of maintaining their home. 

With their equity already unlocked, your parent can relax knowing their family won’t have to worry about managing what is most likely their largest asset, their home, after their death. They can also redistribute their wealth into alternative savings routes, like a trust, based on the recommendation of a financial advisor.  To learn more about our sale-leaseback or aging-in-place resources, contact one of our advisors today. 


  1. Helping your aging parents with their estate plans in California. Law Offices of Russel M. Ozawa.
  2. Investopedia. Power of Attorney (POA): Meaning, Types, and How and Why to Set One Up.
  3. 2023 Wills and Estate Planning Study.
Róisín Goebelbecker headshot
Written by
Róisín Goebelbecker
Brand Lead at Truehold
Róisín Goebelbecker leverages her background in social impact storytelling, community engagement, and social services to elevate residents’ stories and advocate for the dignity and agency of older adults.
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Truehold's blog is committed to delivering timely and pertinent insights in real estate and finance, purely for educational and informational purposes. Crafted by experts, our content is thoroughly reviewed to guarantee its accuracy and dependability. Although designed to enlighten and engage, our articles are not intended as financial advice and should not be the sole basis for financial decisions. Our stringent editorial practices ensure the integrity of our content, empowering our readers with valuable knowledge.

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