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How to Discuss Estate Planning With Aging (or Sick) Loved Ones - Part 2

Ali Katz


In our last newsletter, we shared the first part of our article on how to discuss estate planning with aging (or sick) loved ones.

If you didn’t read it yet, you can do so here.

The holidays can be the best time for you to be ready to discuss these issues with family, and the more you are prepared, the easier it will be.

Here’s the bottom line: learn to ask the right questions and then listen deeply. This may be a difficult topic for your loved one to discuss, so make sure you are bringing your curiosity, not answers, and then staying open to truly hear what your loved one wants.

Ask your loved one what role they would like you to take, rather than assuming. And reassure your loved one that you have no expectations, but that you will be involved as much or as little as he or she desires.

If you need support on the right questions to ask, check out the Conversation Project. Their Conversation Starter Kit, available for free on their website, has a series of questions that you can use to begin the conversation about end of life care with your loved one.

Be able to answer questions. If your loved one hasn’t thought about estate planning, make sure you can help him or her make important decisions about their estate plan and end of life wishes. You may want to consult with an experienced lawyer who handles estate planning first, and suggest your loved one speak to a Personal Family Lawyer® for a full Family Wealth Planning Session.

You can offer to attend the Session with your loved one, but be prepared for us to confirm with your loved one (outside of your presence) that he or she feels comfortable with you in the room and that he or she was not pressured into having you present.

Discuss estate planning and end of life wishes with your loved one before it’s too late. If your loved one becomes incapacitated or dies before you have an understanding of his or her wishes, it will be challenging to ensure their medical choices, and the management of their estate will be handled they way they would have wanted. And, you could end up in Court, unnecessarily. We are here to help your family stay out of Court and out of conflict. It’s our mission.

Finally, you may want to check out the Five Wishes process for discussing and documenting end of life medical-decision making. In the event that you do, please contact us after the Five Wishes document has been created so we can review it for you and your loved one to ensure that it will meet the requirements you will need to actually support your loved one, in the event they cannot make their own medical decisions.

If you need to come in and meet with us over the holidays, because you are visiting family or having family visit, and it’s the best timing for you, please contact a Personal Family Lawyer®to schedule now and we’ll do our best to fit you in during our special holiday hours for families like yours.