What to Do if Your Elderly Parents Don’t Have an Estate Plan

19 Nov, 2018

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An estate plan may help reduce the taxes your children will have to pay upon your death. However, not all parents may be up for this. If you’re in this situation, you might want to know how to approach the situation. [Related topic: Probate attorney]

While adult children have expectations that their parents have done anything in their power to reduce estate taxes, which seems like an obvious course of action when you’re meant to be their only beneficiary; but your parents may simply not want to increase their risks to maximize your net benefits.


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Even the simplest tax-reducing strategies can create complex headaches and finding advisors who will explain taxes to you and make the process easier can be quite difficult. Dealing with assets through wills or trusts, designating beneficiaries, and joint ownership raises complex tax issues that are often ignored and there are significant costs and risks to follow some tax strategies.

Although estate planning can reduce provincial estate administration or probate taxes, there are also federal income taxes paid to the State. Therefore, your parents may not be interested in taking risks or making difficult choices in their late years. If your parents are in long-term care or suffer from mild dementia, they may not be able to change their will or make estate and tax plans.

It is possible that your parents haven’t had add your name to their assets because they had concerns about your financial difficulties. If your spouse raised claims to assets you owned with your parents, they could end up losing control of their own assets. Paying provincial probate taxes may be the price parents pay to keep control over their finances and future. Changing ownership to reduce tax for the next generation is not always their priority.

In this situation the best course of action is to consult directly your specific case with a probate attorney who can help you figure out what the best course of action is in your particular situation.

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