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Sibling rivalries don't mix in the elderly planning process

When siblings are called upon to take care of an elderly parent, the stage is set for conflict, especially where the siblings do not communicate freely and regularly on the problems and issues that may arise. A first issue in elderly planning that often arises in Texas and elsewhere is who will be the primary caregiver. Where one sibling resides close to the ailing parent, that will often be the deciding factor.

Caregiving duties can be divided by schedules and other family needs, but this can only be done with siblings who are communicating and frankly offering their opinions in a free interchange of ideas and information. Other divisions of labor can take place based on what skills each of the siblings possesses, so that a financially capable sibling may take over the financial records and payment of bills through the power of attorney. Another sibling may be more adept at the caregiving aspect of the job.

Where all of the siblings don't live near to the parent, the physical caregiving duties may have to be performed by an agency. In that event, most of the discussion will perhaps be centered on the division of the financial costs that will be necessary. At any time, resentment can arise in this touchy scenario, particularly where communication is allowed to falter.

With respect to finances, siblings should freely communicate what they believe they should contribute and why. Family incomes and work schedules are examples of important factors that should be shared and communicated. Hopefully, siblings can cooperate through honest communications and sincere contributions to the parent's well-being. Clearly, old sibling rivalries should be put to the side.

Finally, probably the best way to handle the potentially conflicting division of efforts on behalf of a parent is to plan and discuss all matters in advance. Residents of Texas who are facing elderly planning concerns for an older parent will also be wise to obtain the consultation and services of an experienced elder law attorney. That will assure that all necessary documents are in place, available benefits are obtained and all rights and duties are fully understood.

Source: poughkeepsiejournal.com, "Sharing caregiving responsibilities among siblings", Bernard A. Krooks, Jan. 31, 2015

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