by Magdalena A. LaBranch-Gonzales
Litherland, Kennedy & Associates, APC, Attorneys at Law
At our recent client appreciation event, we recommended that our clients have “The Talk” with their kids or loved ones…
I know what you’re thinking; but it’s not that Talk. It’s probably been years since you’ve had to sit through that uncomfortable talk about the birds and the bees only to find yourself facing a new level of uncomfortableness.
How do you talk to your kids or loved ones about your end of life priorities, preferences and wishes?! First, just try to be open to the discussion whether you’re on the giving end or the receiving end of The Talk. Let’s admit it; it’s uncomfortable for everyone involved.
To help everyone out, we’ve devised an easily digestible five point talking plan to approach the topic slowly and with ease.
Step One: Tell your kids or loved ones you have an Estate Plan. Easy, right? To make it even easier, tell them that if anything happens to you to call our office. Whether you’ve entered the hospital, you’re looking to transition out of your home, you need Medi-Cal planning, or you’ve *cough* died, whatever the scenario, call us so we can be a resource for them. We would much rather receive the call too soon, than too late, so that we can be of the most help to you and your family.
Step Two: Location, Location, Location. Now that you’ve broached the subject. Let them know where to find your Estate Plan and your other important papers. The originals, the copy in the big red binder, the passwords, bank and retirement statements, the safe deposit box key, etc.
Step Three: What is your plan for times of illness and end of life? Topics include: Hospital preference? Visitors? Religious preferences? Would you prefer to die at home? Prolong life or Not to prolong life? Donation of Organs? Buried or cremated? Party or no Party? (Understandably, this conversation can be an on-going dialogue and does not need to happen all at once.)
Step Four: Okay, now that we are getting comfortable here—What are you going to do with all your stuff? Yes, I am talking to you. The house full to the brim of stuff–your jewelry, art, garage full of tools and the drawers full of tupperware with no matching lids. Ask your kids and loved ones for help. Donate it. Sell it. Or my personal preference, start gifting it away while you are still alive. Not only can someone else enjoy it, but you can appreciate them enjoying it while you are still living. And you are here to re-live the memories and share the story behind it.
Step Five: Your legacy. Ok. The Talk can’t all be heavy stuff. Share your stories, favorite memories, dreams, regrets, advice, if they’re open to it, your favorite recipe that you just aren’t ready to share. (I’m talking to you Dad.) Finally, tell them you love them and you appreciate them. If you can’t say it out loud, there’s room to write it in your Estate Planning Binder too.
If all else fails, send your kids or loved ones to our free Trustee and Power of Attorney School or schedule a free one-hour review appointment, bring your kids or loved ones with you, and we’ll help you start The Talk.