As our parents age, bonds with our siblings and extended family members become even more important. Our parents need us to work collaboratively when they can no longer speak for themselves. Unfortunately, it is during stressful times like these that family members lose sight of what is important – their incapacitated parent.
Here is the story we often hear as lawyers: Mom had no estate plan because she knew that her children would work things out should something happen to her. Mom was the glue that kept the family together. Mom never thought there might come a time when she would be unable to make decisions about to her health or her money.
If it is too late for a loved one to appoint medical and financial agents due to incapacity, talk to your lawyer about how your family can work collaboratively to make the best decisions for Mom. When there is disagreement and conflict about where Mom should live, or who should take care of Mom’s bills, adult children often want to run to the court house to battle it out.
Before you do, take the time to have meaningful discussions with your siblings and family members about where Mom would have wanted to live if given the choice; how Mom would have wanted to be treated, medically or otherwise, if she still had a voice; and talk to an estate planning attorney if you need help facilitating these often difficult discussions.
Your attorneys have tools and strategies, as well as access to a network of psychologists, family-facilitators, and other professionals, to help you to resolve these conflicts.
Ask yourself, are the exorbitant costs of litigation and the destruction of your family worth the fight in court. While in some cases litigation is necessary, first, let’s talk.