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Family meetings good for long-term care planning process

A Fidelity survey this year regarding caregiving needs of parents and the ability of children to provide those needs found some increased conflicts over the 2014 survey. Likely speculation says that the better economy in Texas and elsewhere may have a paradoxical effect on whether adult children want to sit down with their parents and have a discussion about getting older, long-term care and dying. In 2014, 52 percent of children said those discussions should occur but this year only 37 percent felt that way.

Elder law specialists have long recommended such a meeting and actually, several of them, so that both generations can get used to the idea and the solutions that are agreed upon. Without the family meetings, children and their parents can have very different expectations about what will occur in the later years of a parent's life. Thus, 72 percent of parents expected at least one of their kids to be a long-term care giver and caretaker, if necessary, whereas 40 percent of the children were surprised to hear that opinion.

Where the children were millennials, they were more likely to be willing to become caregivers for a parent. Children were a bit nicer on another question: 70 percent said that the prospect of parents becoming dependent on them financially was acceptable. The study found that parents and children also don't generally discuss wills and estate planning.

Generally, children were not aware that their parents expected them to take over handling their finances at some point. A lot of parents, on the other hand, did not share information about their assets because they did not want to reveal what they possessed. All in all, the survey indicates a need for more communications between parents and children in the estate planning and long-term care areas. In Texas, this process can be facilitated by having an involved and experienced elder law attorney communicating with the parties to facilitate requested services.

Source: bloomberg.com, "Everybody Dies. It's Time to Have the Talk", Suzanne Woolley, June 28, 2016

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