The Family Meeting

April 03, 2020

I intend to dive in to current events a little more in my quarterly update which will be posted next week, but in the interim, here is a topic that is near and dear to me, and something I intend to post about twice per year.

The version of the Family Meeting I'm talking about is when a/an aging family member(s) sit down with their loved ones and discuss their wants and needs as they age.  A family meeting generally consists of running through the "what if" scenarios and clearly stating what the aging member(s) would like to happen.  Even if the requests made aren't necessary realistic at least it will foster discussion and allow expectations to be adjusted accordingly within the family.

Scenarios that are common to discuss are things like "do you want to look into assisted living, and if so, what is the triggering event?"  Or "do you want to stay in home as long as possible, and whom will be the caregiver in that situation?"

This topic can be really uncomfortable, especially for folks who have never discussed their mortality and/or finances with their next of kin.  However, maybe in today's environment that meeting can be done virtually.  Maybe that actually makes it a little easier to schedule and a little less daunting than sitting in the same room?

Regardless of medium, this is often an extremely personal and emotional conversation, and many times folks simply fear it and take the ostrich approach to planning for aging.  However, I would argue that Perhaps the most important legacy you can leave to your heirs is simply a well communicated aging plan and yes, that is in my email signature.  And also yes, this means I feel that an aging plan is potentially even more important than any assets or legacy you are able to leave to your family or friends. 

Too many times I've seen families struggle with what to do when faced with the decision on what's best for Mom or Dad (or any loved one).  Many times that decision will cause tension between the family members that are forced to make tough calls - and do they even know whom is supposed to make those decisions?  In extreme cases that tension can lead to familial links being strained or outright severed altogether.  This is exactly what I want to help my clients avoid and why knowing what Mom or Dad "would have wanted" ahead of time can be so important to communicate. 

If you have any questions about how to set up a family meeting, or if you'd like to have me facilitate a meeting, feel free to reach out to me!  I'm happy to help in any way I can!  The real key is simply to bring up the topic with your loved ones and then start to figure out the best approach from there.

Stay positive, test negative.

Ken

 

For educational purposes only. (04/20)