When your parents get to be a certain age, the idea of life without them may cause you to panic. You may worry about managing your life without their support. You may wonder how you will be able to oversee their care when you live far away. You may panic thinking about having to host Thanksgiving dinner when your mom gets too old, and you may realize that you know nothing about their end-of-life preferences and financial situation.
Some of your concerns should be no cause for worry. After all, there are YouTube videos that will teach you how to make gravy for Thanksgiving. However, some of your questions need to be answered. You may dread asking your parents whether they wish to be buried or cremated, but unfortunately, this topic needs to be addressed.
How do you talk to your parents about end-of-life wishes? Here are some tips to help you through the list of questions to ask parents before they die.
Make it a family-wide discussion.
If you have siblings, involve them in this discussion. End-of-life planning is a big project, and the more help you have, the easier it may be. Even if you feel that your siblings’ involvement in this discussion may complicate matters, they deserve to be kept in the loop.
Each family has a different set of dynamics. Some may find it easier to consult with their brothers and sisters before broaching the subject with their parents. Other families may know that the mom is the ultimate decision-maker in such matters and will assign a sibling to go on a fact-finding mission and bring up the subject with her.
Those discussions will lay the groundwork on what needs to be done in making end-of-life plans, but there is a lot of leg-work that needs to be completed before the subject can be entirely laid to rest.
Come up with a plan for having the “end-of-life discussion.”
Once you have broached the subject with everyone in the family, it is time to get detailed answers to questions.
You may wish to plan this discussion by scheduling a call or a visit with all the parties involved. This will enable your parents to gather the necessary paperwork and think about their preferences.
If your parents are the type of people who would rather avoid difficult conversations at any cost, you may want to approach the discussion more casually. Some older adults are not comfortable disclosing what they may feel is their private information about their finances and health.
If you feel that your parents are resistant to discussing these details with you, try using these talking points to get them to start sharing.
- “We want to be able to fulfill your final wishes.”
- “We don’t want to have to pay expensive attorneys to sort through the details of your estate.”’
- “We’re worried that if we have to make these decisions after you die that it will cause family arguments.”
- “Making your own funeral plans is one of the best gifts you can give to us.”
Ask all of the hard questions and take notes.
Here are some of the questions to ask your parents.
Questions regarding your parent’s finances
- Do you have enough savings to retire comfortably?
- Do you have long-term care insurance?
- Do you have a will or trust? Where is it located? Who is your attorney? Who is the executor?
- Do you have a life insurance policy? Where are the details of the policy?
- Would you allow one of your children to be given a power of attorney for financial and health matters?
- What other bills do you have? Where are your financial papers located?
- Do you have a safety deposit box?
- Where can we find details regarding your financial assets and liabilities?
Other End-of-Life Questions
- Who is your healthcare power of attorney?
- Have you made your end-of-life care decisions? Do you have a “Do Not Resuscitate” (DNR)?
- Have you made your service arrangements? Would you like to be cremated or buried? Where would you like to have your remains rest for eternity? Have you chosen a funeral home?
Solidify your parent’s final wishes by visiting a funeral home and attorney
While there are certainly benefits to having these difficult conversations with your family members, they are only beneficial if your parents follow-through with the discussion. You may need to nudge your parents to action by helping them choose and meet with an estate-planning attorney and funeral home.
Let Alabama Funeral Homes & Cremation Centers assist you with the process
We know that having end-of-life discussions with your parents isn’t easy, but our staff is trained to handle those who are reluctant to make decisions. We will gently walk your parents through the process while reassuring them that pre-planning their funeral is a financially sound decision.
Thinking about death is never easy, but Alabama Funeral Homes & Cremation Centers will make the process as comfortable for you and your parents as possible.