Implementing an Estate Plan: Family Meeting When a Loved One Struggles

Posted on May 18, 2013

According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, more and more families today are calling “family meetings” in order to address the issues surrounding their parents’ finances. In prior years, these meetings more commonly occurred when there was a health crisis and medical decisions had to be made. Even when there is an estate plan in place, family members meet to discuss the implementation of that plan when a parent becomes incapacitated.

In the Wall Street Journal’s article, which appeared on May 10, 2013, Susan Akers describes her personal experience with such a meeting. Akers’ 88-year-old father was overheard struggling to remember the password and security question answers while on the phone with his bank. Akers’ mother was 89-years-old and receiving assistance from a home-health aide at the time. Akers arranged a meeting with her father and siblings to discuss her concerns.

When it is time to take action as a result of a parent needing help carrying out his or her affairs, Akers recommends considering the following actions:

  • Include all siblings in the meetings and throughout the process. While, ultimately, decision making may rest on one person’s shoulders, she should still welcome input from the rest of the family.
  • Call the meeting as soon as possible before the health problems worsen.
  • Consider hiring a professional to act as a mediator between family members.
  • Set an agenda for the meeting.
  • Consider separating the physical care of the relative from the financial care.

If your loved one recently became incapacitated or passed away, it is vital that you have a knowledgeable legal professional at your side to guide you through the process of implementing the estate plan. Our office of experienced Anaheim trust attorneys can provide further information. Call our office today at (714) 459-5481 for a consultation.

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James F. Roberts
Founder and owner of the Law Office of James F. Roberts and Associates, a premiere estate planning law firm