Let's say that you've been named by your parents as the executor of their wills. As you can imagine, this is a huge responsibility as it means that you are responsible for making sure that the terms the wills are followed to your parent's specifications. An executor is also responsible for making sure that all estate taxes are paid and that all debts have been accounted for and taken care of.
Let's face it: this would be an incredibly difficult job to do without having all of the necessary documents available to you. But you know what would make this job even more challenging? Not knowing where your parents' wills are located.
In a lot of cases where children end of taking care of their elderly parents, the focus of their attention is on making sure that their parents' needs are being met rather than where all of their legal documents are being stored. It isn't until the end that some children realize that they do not have all of the information they need to be an effective executor of their parents' wills. In other cases, children may not even know where their parent's will is located, leaving the estate up to intestacy laws.
As you may have gathered, not knowing where your elderly loved ones' legal documents are can present a huge challenge to you because it could lead to litigation and the intervention of a Pennsylvania probate judge. So even though having an end-of-life discussion with your loved ones might seem morbid and cause you some level of anxiety, these feelings pale in comparison to the legal headache you could face down the road if you don't.
Source: The Pennsylvania Bar Association, "Estate Planning," Accessed May 14, 2015