If you’re spending this holiday season with elderly parents, it’s probably not a bad idea to discuss pre-incapacity planning.
Potentially uncomfortable but important discussions
If you and your siblings (assuming you have siblings) have not spoken to your parents about who will make financial and healthcare decisions for them when they are not able to, the holidays are as good a time as any to have such discussions.
Now, I will not pretend that the conversation isn’t a potential source of discontent.
After all, very few individuals like talking about who will make financial and healthcare decisions for them when they can’t make those decisions themselves.
However, it is typically preferable to speak about these subjects face-to-face, rather than by phone or other electronic means.
Additionally, it’s never a bad idea to be thinking about who we’d want to make health care decisions for us if we are not able to.
Keep everyone informed
A small word of advice though: If there is any member of the family not present during the conversation, it is important to fill them in on what was discussed.
The last thing you want is a brother or sister feeling as though these discussions are happening without their input. (After all, we know that their input is of vital importance. It would be less than ideal to make any suggestions to mom or dad without such input.)
As I’ve stated in the past, the fewer surprises during times of crisis the better.