son with elderly parent

Estate Planning for Aging Parents

Estate planning can be done by people of any age, but it’s especially advantageous for aging parents. While death is the last thing most people want to talk about, it’s important to have those conversations and work toward creating a favorable estate plan.

If you have aging parents that need assistance creating an estate plan, consult with an experienced estate planning lawyer. 

Talk to Your Parents About Creating an Estate Plan

When you talk to your parents about creating an estate plan, start by explaining how helpful it can be to have a solid estate plan in place. Once they understand how they can benefit from an estate plan, you can take the next steps.

Estate plans can be useful in many ways. For example, a well-thought-out estate plan can:

  • Protect your beneficiaries and loved ones
  • Help simplify or even avoid the probate process
  • Spare your family from financial and legal challenges
  • Help avoid substantial taxes

What documents will your aging parents need?

Drafting an estate plan requires several different documents. These arrangements are not a “one-size-fits-all” proposition, meaning their exact verbiage and supporting documents depend on the individual and their specific circumstances. 

With that being said, there are a few common documents that all aging parents should include in their estate plans.


Wills are the most basic and well-known estate planning document, and for good reason — they’re a very important piece of the estate planning puzzle.

Simply put, a will details what will happen to a person’s assets upon their passing. It can also include further information, including plans for guardianship or even pet care.

In a will, testators are also able to choose who they want as a personal representative. A personal representative is an individual in charge of the testator’s estate, ensuring everything detailed in their will goes according to plan.


Trusts can fulfill many of the same purposes as a will. However, a trust does not have to go through the probate process. This arrangement allows a grantor to create a plan for their assets and property to be distributed to chosen beneficiaries.

There are many different kinds of trusts. Some of the most common include revocable trusts, irrevocable trusts, and living trusts. 

Healthcare Power of Attorney

A healthcare power of attorney bestows upon an individual the power to make important health decisions should the person nominating them not be able to do so themselves.

When a person cannot make their own decisions, the person with healthcare power of attorney can step in and authorize various actions. Without a healthcare power of attorney, the situation can easily become complicated.

Living Will

A living will is different from a regular will, though many people confuse the two. A living will allows an individual to provide instructions for their health and medical needs should they become unable to.

For example, a living will can include orders to avoid resuscitation or organ donation guidelines. These details take the pressure off the family and ensure that the individual has their wishes honored.

Letter of Instruction

As the name indicates, a letter of instruction is a list of directions for family members to follow. Letters of instruction can include everything from funeral and burial preferences to information on accessing personal accounts.

It’s worth noting that letters of instruction are not binding legal documents, so they should be used in conjunction with other estate planning documents, such as wills. 

Get Assistance From a Qualified Estate Planning Lawyer

Estate planning for aging parents can be tough, but a skilled estate planning attorney can provide the necessary legal guidance. With offices in Irvine and Huntington Beach, OC Wills & Trust Attorneys is ready to serve you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

Since joining OC Wills & Trust Attorneys in 2016, Ellie Hsu has guided hundreds of clients in their estate planning matters. She is dedicated to understanding the individual needs and unique objectives of each client, in order to craft customized estate plans that reflect the client’s goals. If you have any questions regarding this article, reach out to Ellie Hsu today.