As we age, the likelihood of being struck by a serious illness or having an accident increases, meaning loved ones could face the difficult decisions that come with a parent’s incapacity or passing. Making sure your family members know your end-of-life preferences and discussing your estate plan can ease everyone’s mind.
The website seniorhomes.com recently posted an article, “10 Steps to Communicate Your End-of-Life Wishes.” According to the article, the most important question when it comes to communicating end-of-life wishes might be, “how do I do it?” Luckily, there are things you can do to make the process easier for you and your family, and at Family Estate Planning Law Group, we work with clients to hold a Family Care Meeting to outline their wishes, estate plan and the roles of family members or loved ones.
Planning. There’s no better time than the present to create and communicate an estate plan. Start by speaking with an experienced estate planning attorney to determine what you’d like to have happen to your assets in the event of your death. You should also discuss your care preferences in case you’re incapacitated.
Clarity. It’s not pleasant to dwell on becoming too ill to make important decisions, but a critical injury or debilitating illness can occur at any time. It’s vital to be clear about your wishes. While it can be uncomfortable, should something happen to you, it’s better that those responsible for your care to understand your wishes and the provisions you’ve made to allow them access to healthcare information, etc.
Opportunity. It may seem daunting to discuss end-of-life issues, but at Family Estate Planning Law Group, we help our clients by facilitating a Family Care Meeting. We ask you, your trustees and other fiduciaries named in your plan to join us in our offices where we outline your plan. We help you explain your plan and help loved ones understand their roles. Have this conversation sooner rather than later; you never know when it could be too late.
Ongoing Discussion. Your preferences may change over time, necessitating future discussions. That’s one of the reasons we at Family Estate Planning Law Group work with clients on an ongoing basis. Your life, your assets and even the law change over time; it’s important to be in regular communication so estate plans work the way you intend.
Permission. While it’s crucial to have these conversations with loved ones, try asking them before launching into the topic. This reassures them that you respect and honor their wishes, even though you need to have this conversation with them.
Purpose. Your conversations with family have two important goals: (i) ensuring your financial and healthcare wishes are expressed; and (ii) giving family the information and confidence they need to make future decisions. Clients tell us the Family Care Meeting helps loved ones be more comfortable with making these decisions.
Setting. Have this talk in a quiet and comfortable setting, being mindful of your state of mind and that of your loved ones. Do what you can to help them feel comfortable. At Family Estate Planning Law Group, we help clients facilitate this discussion.
Listening. Whatever your role in discussing end-of-life wishes, it’s important to listen carefully. Be certain that you hear and understand what your loved ones are saying.
Who participates in this conversation? Any loved ones with a role in your estate plan should be aware of their responsibilities. It can also be helpful to have your financial professionals present, so loved ones meet the professionals they’ll need to work with if you’re incapacitated or pass away.
Pace. If you’re listening to a loved one express their wishes, let them set the pace and don’t argue. They may not be your wishes, but these are their choices. It’s important to be understanding, especially if you’re being entrusted with their care.
For more information on our Family Care Meeting, explore our website and contact us to schedule your consultation today!
Reference: seniorhomes.com (December 22, 2016) “10 Steps to Communicate Your End-of-Life Wishes”