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"The Favorite" - Grandfather and Gra...

“The Favorite” – Grandfather and Grandson – “Ο Αγαπημένος του Παππού” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here is a story from one woman about her experience discussing long term care with her mother. From her perspective, it sounds like it could have gone better! The author wishes she would have talked to her mother in person instead of writing an email. She also suggests that others start such charged conversations with “asking for permission” to discuss the issues first. However she also had some great questions for her mother to help spark discussion on planning for the future. These included:

  • Formation of a will
  • Long-term care insurance
  • Future residence plans should her mother or her mother’s husband pass away.
  • Seeing a financial planner

These are all great topics to discuss with our relatives and also to think about for ourselves.  I would add that another great topic to discuss with parents is setting up a durable power of attorney. Basically this role names someone as agent to make financial or healthcare decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated. Details on arranging a durable power of attorney should of course be discussed with a legal advisor.

Part of naming an agent in such a role of course involves dicussing and writing out  your wishes. Recently, my own family experienced the death of a much-loved (and previously very heatlhy) cousin in her early sixties. She, an avid tennis player, musician, and dog-lover, unexpectedly became seriously ill due to an auto-immune disease which suddentlyl developed. She passed away within a month or so, much to the shock of our whole family who expected she would live into her nineties, much like her father before her. Unfortunately while she had chosen my father to make medical decisions for her, she had never discussed her wishes for care at the end-of-life. It was challenging for my father to help make decisions for her care in the last week or two without having any information about what she would have wanted and at the same time grieving for the loss of his one and only cousin. So don’t forget to have these conversations early and often, and to put them in writing!

These topics can be extremely difficult to bring up. They become esepcially difficult with those we love and who have cared for us in our younger years. However, conversing openly and honestly about such topics with our loved ones is the first step to having a good plan in place for the future.

Do you have any experiences discussing plans for the future with your relatives? Please tell us what worked and didn’t work!

Also, have you taken steps to address what would happen to your family and finances in the case of your own death or long term disability? Why or why not?

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