The Tough Talk that Offers Peace of Mind

The conversationAlthough it’s never easy to talk about end-of-life decisions, you might be surprised by the peace of mind it can bring to both elderly parents and their adult children.

Knowing that your adult children understand your wishes and concerns about end-of-life decisions can be very freeing for you; as well as your adult children – after all you’ve eliminated the stress that comes from not knowing that you have a plan when the time comes for them to implement if. As an adult child who has yet to have ‘that tough talk’ with their parents, it might be illuminating for you to know that you should talk to mom first, or its only dad, let your sister begin the conversation.  Experts agree that women are the best source of open dialogue, even when it comes to this touchy subject.

Nevertheless, this conversation is not one that you can have before everyone feels comfortable with the topic. After all, sharing financial information or sensitive health care issues is never easy and it does not good for anyone if parent or child is in denial of what is to come. Let’s examine some of the telltale signs that it might be time for such a discussion with your parent:

  • Learn How to Spot the Clues. If your parent casually mentions their visit with the doctor, creating their estate plan, even offering where to find important documents, this might be your signal that they are ready to talk about these important end-of-life decisions. Ask if he or she wants to set a time to go over his or her will, discuss his or her thoughts on medical care and talk about other estate planning matters. They may confirm that now is the perfect time to discuss these matters.
  • Choose Your Time Wisely.    As difficult as this dialog can be, it will be all the more difficult if you attempt it in fits and starts. You should have enough time to cover everything your parent wants to share, in the manner they chose to share it with you. Remember, the most important thing is to have this discussion as soon as you can, as illness and accidents strike without warning. Understanding your parents' wishes while they are around to provide input will be easier than relying on an impersonal document or risking the possibility that when the time comes they are too ill to convey their wishes.
  • Remember, this is Your Parents' Plan, Not Yours. Most of us will have our own preferences when it comes to these topics. What if your parents' wishes are diametrically opposed to your own? If your parents are well enough mentally and physically to make sound decisions, then you'll need to accept and respect those plans. If you can’t implement the plan because you do not agree with it, let that be known so that there are no issues later – it is their plan and anyone accepting responsibility for its implementation will have a fiduciary duty to abide by its terms.

While it obvious that there is nothing fun in talking about terminal illness, incapacity, and end-of-life issues, the only thing less fun is trying to guess at the plan or worse, having the court system impose their plan on us. We can help;; schedule your complimentary consultation today.

Reference: Huffington Post (February 29, 2016) "What Your Aging Parent Isn't Telling You – I Want to Discuss End-of-Life Issues" and MarketWatch (May 7, 2013) “In family-money talks, start with mom

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We've been putting together as many resources as possible so that we can continue to help:

  • If you’re a current client with a signing appointment or a prospective client with a consultation and would prefer that meeting take place in your own home, we can accomplish that with a little bit of pre-planning on our part and with the addition of a laptop, smartphone, tablet or other computer in your home to facilitate this virtual meeting. For those of you that need to sign legal documents, that too can be accomplished with the use of a webcam (FaceTime etc.), so that we can witness and electronically notarize all of your important legal documents.
  • We launched the rollout of our on-demand webinar early so that new clients and our allied professionals can view the important component parts of ‘an estate plan that works’ at their convenience.  That is available on our website.
  • Live video workshops will be produced as quickly as possible and certainly ahead of our previous schedule; we will keep you posted as these events become available. Given the ‘boutique’ nature of the firm, we rarely have more than ten people in our office including team members at any one time. During this period of ‘social distancing,’ we promise to have no more than 8 people at any time.   This allows us to comply with the Governor’s directive to limit in-person gatherings.
  • The best way to communicate with us is still by phone during regular office hours of 8:30 to 5:00, Monday through Friday, or, you can email any of our team members (that is, their first name followed by @zarembalaw.com).  We will respond to these emails as quickly as possible.
  • Please continue to follow the directives of our local, state, and federal agencies. For your health and in consideration of our team who is assisting you, if you’ve scheduled an office appointment or planned to drop off paperwork and are experiencing a fever, dry cough, or shortness of breath, please contact your primary care doctor for guidance and then our office to reschedule.

Thank you, Walt and the Zaremba Team

Update to our Process

The unprecedented coronavirus pandemic has taken our entire country by surprise. We understand how difficult this time is for America’s businesses and families.  However, we believe it is vitally important that we make every effort possible to continue to offer solutions that avoid disrupting our important partnership with you, your family and friends.  As you know, estate planning is not something that should wait for a more convenient time, therefore the opportunity to address your important goals both during and after this crisis should not wait.  To that end, we have added the option of a ‘virtual consultation’ to our office process.  You will now have a choice of either meeting with us in our office or in the comfort of your own home.