Family Fireworks

This year’s Fourth of July, celebrated with a long weekend, is lining up to be much more celebratory than one year ago. Thank goodness for that! The 3-day weekend will allow families and friends to spend time together – just like “old times”. Considering the year-long pandemic there may be families who have not been together in one place for over a year, two years or longer. This opens up the opportunity for celebration as well as “family fireworks” that can be just as explosive as the fireworks that will be lit all weekend long at beaches and towns throughout America.

In a prior TGIF 2 Minutes, I referred to “10 Topics Likely NOT Discussed at the Thanksgiving Table”. These included a couple of money and family related topics often not discussed due to their emotional nature. Here, a closer look at two conversations that can prevent much pain and expense at a later time:

“Family fireworks” that can be just as explosive as the fireworks that will be lit all weekend long at beaches and towns throughout America.

  • Caring for An Aging Parent. Continually one of the most frequent topics among my clients and friends, this one may be an “11” on an emotional scale of 1 to 10. Most of the time we love our family but all of us will age. Aging becomes expensive and/or involved for nearly everyone over time. Consider and talk through a few key things with parents, siblings, and children. In the case of caring for an aging parent,
  • If there are multiple siblings, will there be shared responsibilities?
  • Due to geography, will one sibling be a primary caregiver?
  • Will siblings travel periodically to care for Mom or Dad?
  • If skilled care is required at some point, how will the care be delivered? In the home? In an assisted living residence?
  • How will the parent or family pay for any needed care?
  • Decisions and conversations are best held in advance.

NONE of these questions have easy answers. Consider also,

  • Who and What will be “in charge” after Mom and Dad or Grandma and Grandpa are gone? Yes, this one can be the “zinger”. This topic is critical and best discussed far away from the Fourth of July picnic or Thanksgiving table but definitely discussed patiently and with an informed adviser who asks the right questions and truly has your best interests in mind.
  • Putting in place Wills, Trusts and Advanced Directives can greatly simplify and at best clarify in advance both the “who” (Executor, Trustee, Agent) and “what” (Trust document) will oversee the intentions of the deceased. Most of these documents can be changed and updated over time.
  • Various insurance policies including long-term care and annuities can be put in place to assist in paying for care.
  • Savings and investment strategies – aside from insurance policies – can be established far in advance to match certain long-term health and aging related goals.

As time goes by, situations and people will change which is why it is critical to have these family discussions not just once but periodically over the years. Getting quality advice – which can be a trial-and-error process – can go a long way to simplifying planning and calming emotions. That way, the Fourth of July fireworks can be in the sky and the kind we look at with awe.

Thank you for reading, Happy Fourth of July and TGIF!

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