It is never easy to talk about death, or the challenges that come with end-of-life issues for family members. Although it can be hard to have these discussions, it is important to have them before the inevitable occurs. Death and end-of-life issues can be an easy topic for some families, but for most it can become an ominous and avoided conversation. Having these conversations, will, in the long term, actually benefit families who will either then know or be able to fulfil the wishes of aging parents and can help to prevent fights between siblings and other family members later.
All siblings, along with their parents, should be a part of end of life issue discussions. In order to keep all children in the loop and also to ensure that the wishes of parents are honoured, the entire family should be aware of any end of life discussions or decisions made. One way to do this is to approach your siblings and have an open conversation about any information you have discussed with your parents. This way, you may find out some information that will give you peace of mind. If together, you realize that no one has any information, this discussion can be a good way to come up with a plan on how best to approach the topic with your parents.
Although some people make sure they have a will from a young age, it is important to ensure that your parents have spoken to a lawyer and created a legally binding will. Wills help to guarantee that a deceased person’s wishes are being honoured. There are non-threatening and non-invasive ways to bring this issue up. For instance, instead of asking your parents if they have a will outright, you can soften the question. Suggesting that you want to ensure that you are honouring their wishes if something were to happen to them is an effective way to suggest that writing up a will is a good idea. Verbal testaments don’t hold up in court and in order for your parents to have their wishes completely honoured is to have a written and verified will.
Power of Attorney
In many cases, appointing a power of attorney can save families a lot of strife. The power of attorney is a legal document that gives the authority to one person to act for another person in legal, business or financial matters. In some cases, it can come down to the power of attorney to make tough decisions about course of action regarding furthering or cutting off certain health treatments, but it can also be the person in charge of any other financial or legal matters. Again, instead of asking outright if your parent has a power of attorney, why not suggest that in an emergency you want someone designated to make tough decisions for you and it might be good for them to do the same. Without a power of attorney, any important life decisions will be made by a judge and may not best represent the wishes of the person unable to make the decision. It is important; however, to have discussions with your appointed power of attorney to ensure they know what you would want decided upon in any given emergency situation.