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Family Affairs: Do Your Kids a Favor
Posted By Deb Silverberg On June 7, 2013 @ 6:24 pm In Take Care | No Comments
The other day I saw an ad with the headline, “Do your kids a favor.” It went on to say, “You checked for monsters under her bed, sent her to the best school, and helped her buy her first car. Now, do her one more favor.”
That favor involves making plans in advance and communicating your wishes to your children. The ad, for a funeral home, takes a subject people don’t like to think about and puts it front and center.
I hope it encourages people to think about their wishes and do their kids the favor of not having to make them guess. As I explain in my book, AARP Roadmap for the Rest of Your Life, these steps are critical to ensuring your wishes are carried out and can give your loved ones some peace of mind at a time when they’ll need it.
You can write a letter, have “the Talk” with kids or loved ones who will be handling your affairs, or do both. Here is what to cover:
My father was an attorney and for the most part, he made sure his legal and personal affairs were in order. My brother and I were informed of his wishes, with one gaping exception: his feelings about life and death medical decisions. He couldn’t discuss that topic – it was too difficult for him. Fortunately, we never had to face a decision about prolonging his life.
Your family members may not be as lucky, and you wouldn’t want to put them in the awkward position of disagreeing on medical decisions because they weren’t sure what you would have wanted. [This link will help.]
We can make things easier on our loved ones by being clear about our wishes – especially on topics that may be difficult to discuss. (And if you’re an adult child, now you have a roadmap of sorts to finally have that discussion with your parents.)
In addition to the practical things, you can use this as an opportunity to express your feelings about your family and loved ones, talk about your dreams for the future, and share thoughts on your legacy.
Instead of thinking of “the Talk” as something uncomfortable to put off, consider it an investment in peace of mind for your family down the road. You’ll be doing everyone a favor.
About the author: Bart Astor is a recognized expert in life’s transitions and eldercare. In addition to AARP Roadmap for the Rest of Your Life: Smart Choices about Money, Health, Work, Lifestyle, and Pursuing Your Dreams, Bart wrote the best-selling book, Baby Boomer’s Guide to Caring for Aging Parents, and has appeared on numerous TV and radio shows, including ABC’s “Good Morning America,” PBS’s “MarketPlace,” AARP Radio, and Ric Edelman’s “The Truth About Money.” | Photo credit: Eli Meir Kaplan
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