Waiting too long to discuss end-of-life plans with a loved one can have a devastating impact on terminally ill individuals and their families. Mike Belsito, Co-Founder of Cleveland, Ohio-based eFuneral, discusses the importance of having such conversations early.
I’m Mike Belsito, co-founder of eFuneral. Today’s video is inspired by a recent post to the eFuneral Resources section by Carolyn Brent. Carolyn is the author of a book called “Why Wait? A Baby Boomer’s Guide Emotionally, Financially, and Legally for a Parent’s Death.” The book is about why we shouldn’t wait until the end of a parent’s life to start to discuss and to plan around that parent’s death. Today we’re going to talk about the top five reasons why we shouldn’t wait until the very end to have those conversations.
The first is that you and your siblings may have different viewpoints on what to do. Waiting until the very end of a mother’s or a father’s life to open up that can of worms and to learn that you and your siblings have very different viewpoints is a bad time to have these conversations. Usually at the end of life, final decisions need to be made quickly, and you may find that you’re going to end up in very tough conversations – even arguments – with siblings. If you’re able to have those conversations ahead of time with siblings, you’re much more likely to come to a point where you can agree on certain things; usually both groups can come to understand what the other group is thinking.
Point number two is the time immediately after the death of a loved one – especially a parent – should be spent grieving; not necessarily thinking about legal and financial details. It’s not to say that you won’t have to, but when you’re waiting until the very end to get most of those details taken care of, that’s going to be the entire focus. Really, the focus should be on you, your family, your friends, and grieving your parent’s loss: again, not focusing on only the financial or legal details.
Reason number three: there could be significant financial risks. This is something that people don’t always realize. One example of that is having something as simple as a living will. Having a living will in place will ensure that everything with your parent’s estate is worked out ahead of time and when your parent does eventually die, a specific plan can be followed. If a living will doesn’t exist, there’s a very specific way that assets are split up. This is true in the United States especially, but that may or may not be exactly how your parents would have wanted that split up. With that, their assets may go to a place they wouldn’t have wanted them to go based on our country’s laws.
Reason number four why you should have these conversations up front is to plan for end-of-life care. This could be in the form of hospice, but if you’re waiting until the very end, those conversations can be extremely tough and it could be difficult to find the information that you need.
The final reason we’ll discuss is that you may not be doing what your loved one would have wanted you to do. If you have no idea what your parent’s wishes are for end-of-life and how they want their final transition to go, you don’t know if the plans that you’re making are in line with what your mom or dad would have wanted. Having that conversation ahead of time – especially when they’re of sound mind – is really important because then you can have the peace of mind that whatever you end up doing is completely in line with what your mom or dad would have wanted to happen.
Those are five reasons why you should be having those conversations now. Again, Carolyn Brent wrote “Why Wait? A Baby Boomer’s Guide Emotionally, Financially, and Legally for a Parent’s Death,” which is another great resource to look through. For other resources and information about funeral planning, visit our Resources section at www.efuneral.com/articles/center. Or, visit our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/efuneralresources.
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