Livens & Reed, PLLC

Early family discussions can make estate planning less stressful

Family members will greatly benefit from discussing how they may handle future caregiving issues regarding an aging parent. This is best done prior to any problems occurring, and may result in cutting down on stress, lost time and money in future years when health problems do begin to occur. Planning out the role of each family member if future long-term care needs arise is a part of the estate planning process, both in Texas and elsewhere.

The prospects for long-term care needs should be discussed and worked out. Both in-home and nursing care possibilities must be dealt with in candid conversations carried out with mutual care and respect. According to experts in the field, the best way to start the process is to gather everyone in an older person's circle of close friends, loved ones and family members and discuss what each person is able and willing to do in the future.

Ideally, at least one person will be designated to take care of the person's financial and economic affairs, whether in-home or elsewhere. At least one other person can be in charge of meeting with doctors and making decisions relative to long-term care. Others may be assigned to take care of moral support and personal time with the loved one.

Each of these persons may be responsible for getting certain estate planning documents prepared and executed. These may include an advanced directive regarding end-of-life care, a health care proxy and possible other instructions by the elderly person. The person in charge of finances may need to make sure there is a will for the efficient passage of assets and a durable power of attorney to continue day-to-day functions prior to death. A family member with more general responsibilities may be needed to water plants, walk the pets and maintain the grounds. These are universal principles that apply in Texas as well as any other state.

Source:, "Families must prepare for elder emergencies; Talking about what to do in a crisis before it happens is crucial", Mac Mclean, Feb. 27, 2015

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