Our elders are a touchy subject. Our parents typically represent our existence, memories that can’t be escaped – good times & bad – and parts of ourselves that we hope to continue to carry on in our children. Add planning for their inevitable closure to the mix, and it can be a roller coaster of emotions. It’s never easy to plan ahead especially when talking about getting sick or dying, but it’s the most important thing we can do – our parents can do – to make sure everything they worked for is allocated appropriately and not just divided up by some “entity”.
To begin with, there are valid legal questions that need to be asked. Sure, we go through our day trying to figure out what dad is going to eat for dinner, who is going to take mom to her doctor’s appointments this week and how we are going to get grandma to cousin Jill’s wedding 45 minutes away when she can’t drive herself; but what are the valid questions we should be asking? Things like, “Do your parent(s) have legal plans made? Are they up-to-date? Do you know where they are? Are their desires specified?” These are just the beginning.
Start planning NOW.
The best time to plan for something is way before it happens – when our loved ones are healthy and coherent and can make choices for themselves. While this doesn’t always work out this way, by asking the right questions today, you are preparing them for their future and allowing them control over their lives.
Have your loved ones be specific about their wants and needs. Ask those hard questions that make them uncomfortable. No one wants to talk about death, but due to its sometimes inconvenient and random nature, starting now will at least get the ball rolling. Often times, bringing these things up can result in anger and frustration, but you need to be the one to sift through that and get to the heart of what’s desired. Remember, you’re doing it for them – for everything they worked for – and even if they are initially angry, they’ll be happy for the peace of mind it brings.
Come full circle with everything.
When preparing for a conversation with an elder law attorney, gather documents that will be important to your loved ones when deciding what they want to do with their assets. The most important categories to discuss are healthcare and long-term care, finances and property, and naming decision maker(s). Try to have answers to these questions ahead of time so everyone is prepared. At the very least, get your loved ones thinking about these things so when the time comes to put it down on paper, they have an idea of what they are getting in to.
Gather any and all legal documents.
Talk with your loved ones about the deed to their property, where it is; estate documents, financial statements, living wills, retirement funds, what their passwords are, where their hiding places are, insurance policies and any contact information of people you may need to get in touch with when they are gone. Start small and end big.
Finally, talk with us – The Kabb Law Firm. Our experienced and knowledgeable elder law attorneys are made for the roles they are in. Our unique approach and sensitive nature allows us to guide you and your loved ones step-by-step through the process. We are thorough and honest and most of all, sympathetic. We know this is a difficult subject to approach and that it can be sad, scary and confusing for a lot of people. This is why we will take the reigns and help create a plan that works for everyone involved. Call us today at 216-991-KABB, or visit our website at www.kabblaw.com.