Many people may be proactive and complete timely estate and elder care planning, but they don’t clearly communicate their intentions with beneficiaries. This creates more work and causes more headaches for others down the line. These issues can be prevented by having honest conversations with family members now, before it gets harder. You most likely know your family better than anybody and know when a good time might be to have “the talk”. However, regardless when the best time may be, it still may not feel like a good time. That’s why it may be easier to start asking yourself and dropping hints to others about some of the most important issues, so you can work your way into taking them on directly soon.
The death of a friend or an event in the news can often be a natural segue into a discussion about your wishes. To get the gravy flowin’, we put together a list of the Ten Most Important Legal Issues to Discuss with Your Family Over the Holidays.
1. Who do you want to talk to your doctors if you are too sick to do it yourself? Do you have a second choice for a backup?
2. Who do you trust to handle your finances if you are not able? Would you like them to be able to act immediately, or only if you are not able?
3. If you are terminally ill, are there any limits to the medical treatment you would find acceptable?
4. Do you really know what is meant by a “DNR” – “Do Not Resuscitate Order”?
5. Are your important papers and financial information kept in one place? Who besides you knows where this is? What about a safe deposit box? Will anyone have access to it if you are disabled or upon death? Do you have a computer? Do you have a list of passwords? Where is it kept?
6. Have you made any plans for long term care? How will you pay for it?
7. Do you want to be buried or cremated? Where?
8. How do you want your estate distributed after your death? Do you have a will or trust? Have you reviewed it lately? Are there any special needs that must be taken care of for your family?
9. How are your accounts titled? Are there any joint accounts that could create unexpected consequences?
10. Do you have an attorney, accountant or financial advisor? Who are they? Does anyone else know them?