In many families, matters related to long-term care & estate planning are often among those that are dreaded and avoided. There comes a certain point, however, when such conversations are necessary such as when adult children notice the physical and/or mental health decline of a parent.
As family members come together to celebrate the holidays, many are traveling from far away and even those who are local may be busy with their own families. In cases where children have concerns about a parent’s wellbeing and plans for long-term care, it can be difficult and uncomfortable to broach the subject with a parent. As with most difficult conversations, it’s always best to come from a place of concern and love and to impress upon a parent the shared concerns about their safety.
How the conversation proceeds will depend largely on a parent’s own self-awareness, his or her mental state and the urgency with which children feel action needs to be taken. For example, if a parent has started showing worrisome signs of serious dementia, it may no longer be safe for him or her to driver or live alone. In cases where concerns aren’t as immediate, such a conversation may simply be used to raise concerns and start the conversation about what comes next.
In cases where a parent hasn’t taken steps to establish a long-term care plan or where children want to investigate how to gain guardianship of a parent, it’s important to consult with an estate planning attorney. Even in cases where a parent may have an existing long-term care plan, revisions or updates may be necessary and an attorney can assist in helping ensure that a plan is complete and takes all related matters into account.
Source: The Street, “Estate Planning Over Thanksgiving? Time to Talk Turkey,” Jason Notte, Nov. 9, 2015
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