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Communication Key to Preventing Caregiver Misunderstandings

 Posted on February 21, 2018 in Estate Planning

Lombard estate planning attorneyWhen you hear or read the phrase “estate planning,” what comes to mind? If you are like most people, you probably think about wills or maybe trusts that are used to protect a person’s property and distribute it to the person’s heirs upon his or her death. While the protection and transfer of assets are certainly a major focus of estate planning, there are other elements that deal with the quality of a person’s life as he or she gets older. Unfortunately, many of these important subjects are uncomfortable or difficult for many people to talk about, leading to assumptions and misunderstandings that can create serious problems in the future.

Deciding on a Caregiver

Most of us are hesitant to consider a time when we are no longer able get by on our own. The reality, however, is that many of us will need someone to help us with the activities of daily living, especially as we get older. A large number of American adults assume that their children will step into the role of caregiver when the time comes. In fact, according to at least one survey, about three-fourths of parents expect at least one of their children to provide physical or financial help as they get older, and 60 percent of those parents expect to be their daughter.

Without an appropriate discussion, however, children may not be prepared to take on such responsibilities. The results of Fidelity Investments’ Family & Finance report suggest that only about 60 percent of adult children know that their parents expect them to become caregivers.

Talk, Ask Questions, and Talk More

The future will always hold uncertainties, but open and honest communication can go a long way in preventing misunderstandings between generations. If you expect your children to help care for you as you age, you need to tell them. More accurately, you should ask them if they are up to the task. Let them know what your needs are likely to be based on your current health concerns, finances, and other considerations. If your child or children balk at the idea—especially at first—do not take it personally. It is not uncommon for a person to become more open to becoming a caregiver over time.

You may also wish to consider encouraging your children to cooperate. In many families, most of the responsibility tends to fall on just one adult child, even if there are multiple siblings. Sometimes, such a scenario can lead to division and infighting among family members. While it is impossible to prevent all disagreements between your children, you can help things by being open about what you need and allowing each of your children to contribute to the conversation. When the need ultimately arises, each will have a better idea of what is expected of them.

Call Us for Help

If you would like to begin the discussion about caregivers with your family, contact an experienced Lombard estate planning attorney. We can provide direction for your conversation, as well as trusted guidance on all other estate planning matters. Call 630-426-0196 for a confidential consultation at A. Traub & Associates today.



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