My dad is hospitalized for the fifth time since September 2018 due to complications resulting from high blood pressure. Even though we all want him alive, we still fear that if anything happens to him, we will have problems sharing what we think are his many properties.
You see, dad and his younger brother haven’t gotten around to sharing the properties bequeathed to them by my grandfather, so as it stands, we don’t know what actually belongs to my dad.
What steps do you advice I and my two brothers to take now?
I am sorry to hear about your father’s plight and wish him a quick recovery. I understand the anxiety you and your siblings must be experiencing and appreciate your concerns as regards your father’s health, and the state of his assets and affairs.
Indeed, estate planning is important and is not just for the elderly or wealthy but for the young or anyone who has belongings and properties (whether real estate; movable property like cash and jewelry; or even financial assets like stocks and bonds) and wants to determine how and to whom the assets are distributed after his/her lifetime or even during his/her lifetime. This is the proper thing to do to reduce strife among family members upon death of the owner of the assets.
Because you mentioned that your grandfather bequeathed his properties to both your father and his younger brother, I am assuming that your grandfather may have already distributed his assets between your dad and his younger brother, but the only way to find out is to get clarification from your father.
It is, therefore, important for you and your siblings to have this estate planning discussion with your father to
encourage him to pursue one or more of the various options available to him; including drafting his Will or setting up a living trust to be administered by a corporate trustee during and after his lifetime.
I hope this gives you some direction and wish you and your siblings the very best.