Posted by Dave T on April 09, 2000 at 14:44:38:
I suggest that you start with your Mom. Find out from her exactly what her wishes are, including last rites and burial/cremation intentions. Next, with your Mom, evaluate her financial and medical condition. Does your mother seem to have enough current income to meet her daily living expenses? Is her health good or is a major medical event looming on the horizon? Does you mother expect to need long term health care and does she have LTC insurance?
Does your Mom have a will, living will, and durable health care power of attorney in her estate documents? How is each asset titled/owned? Itemize her assets and liabilities.
Now take the answers to these questions to a good financial planner in your area. Ask your friends and co-workers for references. Check with your insurance company. Often they offer estate planning assistance. Try the trust department at your local bank.
A good financial planner should be able to structure an estate plan that minimizes your exposure to estate taxes and probate costs, while at the same time, maximizes the preservation of your Mom’s assets to meet her quality of life needs.
If you live in the Greater Washington DC metropolitan area, e-mail me if you want the name of the financial planner I use.