Pre-planning is the Key to Avoiding Disputes

Fact: People are living longer.

Fact: The rapidly growing population of adults aged 65 and older is outpacing our current health care system’s capacity to care for them.

The impact of the two above facts has put more demand on families (ie: adult children) to manage and often care for their aging parents. Hopefully, our parents have made clear their plans and desires for their more mature years so there is no question as to who shall do what and when, should it becomes necessary for family members to take over in regard to their care. Hopefully, too, there is enough money to provide the kind of care the elderly parent needs and or wants. Unfortunately, both these situations are not always the case and can lead to serious family squabbles.

As mediators we often deal with adult siblings who are certain they know exactly what “Mom would have wanted,” or can vaguely recall “Dad saying what he planned.” The truth probably lies somewhere in between, but now it is on the children to create the best plan for their aged parent who is no longer able to make those sort of decisions. Often money is a big deciding factor and can become the basis of many arguments.

Before desired plans and the allocation of responsibilities come into question it is a good idea to make those things clear. Be sure your parents have a plan and how each child fits into it. Obviously not all scenarios can be premeditated, but taking the guess work out of what a parent’s remaining years will look like serves to keep families harmonious and on the same page.

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