Sarasota / Lakewood Ranch

Holidays are great chance to have serious talks

  • By:Neil Lyons

If you’re spending this holiday season with elderly parents, it’s probably not a bad idea to discuss pre-incapacity planning.

Potentially uncomfortable but important discussions

If you and your siblings (assuming you have siblings) have not spoken to your parents about who will make financial and healthcare decisions for them when they are not able to, the holidays are as good a time as any to have such discussions.

Now, I will not pretend that the conversation isn’t a potential source of discontent.

After all, very few individuals like talking about who will make financial and healthcare decisions for them when they can’t make those decisions themselves.

However, it is typically preferable to speak about these subjects face-to-face, rather than by phone or other electronic means.

Additionally, given the persistent issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic, we all should be thinking about who we’d want to make health care decisions for us if we are not able to.

Keep everyone informed

A small word of advice though: If there is any member of the family not present during the conversation, it is important to fill them in on what was discussed.

The last thing you want is a brother or sister feeling as though these discussions are happening without their input. (After all, we know that their input is of vital importance. It would be less than ideal to make any suggestions to mom or dad without such input.)

As I’ve stated in the past, the fewer surprises during times of crisis the better.

Attorney Neil T. Lyons pursued a career in law for the sole purpose of helping people. His practice focuses on the area of elder law, including estate planning, trust and probate administration and guardianship. His early legal experience solidified his commitment to assisting, whenever possible, two very vulnerable groups: children and the elderly. He receives repeated recognition by various organizations for his pro bono efforts in Manatee and Sarasota counties. Neil also consistently engages in service to the legal community and joined the Luhrsen Goldberg staff in 2019.

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