I talk a lot about having the “conversation” with your aging parent. Some times daily. I cannot stress the importance of having this conversation in the most casual way, and having it early on.
The conversation is ever so sensitive. First, Mom or Dad, or both, begin forgetting appointments. Then, their garbage looks like it hasn’t been taken out in a week. A mortgage payment is missed. Then, they begin having issues with medications. All of a sudden, Mom forgets a grandchild’s recital, or game. You try talking to your loved one about these small occurrences. They may get defensive and chalk it up to their age. They may tell you, “you’ll understand when you’re my age.”
I am not sure why this conversation is so dang sensitive. I am absolutely positive that families are literally torn apart in the end because these talks don’t take place on a regular basis. I’ve seen it in my line of work. However, just because the conversation about aging, finances, end-of-life expectations is taking place, it does NOT mean your loved one will lose any sort of power over their personal autonomy or assets. In fact, they should be happy someone is willing to take on the additional responsibility of making sure the light bill is paid!
Getting on board with a loved one’s wishes and desires is much more important than them leaving any assets after they pass. As a matter of fact, most of personal assets for aging family members will go toward their own personal care during end-of-life. They may have an idea of leaving behind some sort of legacy. But, the reality is most of those assets will likely go toward a certified home health aid or nursing home level of care. Why? Because everyone is living so much longer! As are result, the aging process of a loved one should be a partnership instead of being seen as a payout.
I’m also offering an advance “sorry” to my millennial counterparts. I wouldn’t count on that inheritance payout to cover student loans or credit card debit.