قالب وردپرس درنا توس
Home / Insurance / How to Talk About End-of-Life Planning During the Holidays

How to Talk About End-of-Life Planning During the Holidays

Family time is good for family conversation. Here’s how the experts recommend approaching this sensitive (but important) conversation

Family Christmas lunch at home.

If your parents are still around, they are no doubt getting older (as we all are). This means you should discuss what happens when they stop aging – ie when they die. Because there has to be a plan, and it has to be done before you and yours deal with grief and logistics. And it turns out the holidays are the perfect time to do it.

Now, it may seem strange to discuss death at a family gathering, but hear us out. First, the holidays can be the only time you see your family for several days without having anything special to do. This is fertile ground for conversation.

The second reason is that the holidays are inevitably a time for reflection, a marker of the passing of time. People become thoughtful, contemplative. So yes — a good opportunity to discuss weighty issues.

As for how to do that, we asked a couple of experts. First is Elizabeth Eddy, co-founder of Lantern, an end-of-life planning service available at no cost to eligible Haven Term policyholders through the Haven Life Plus rider.

And then there’s Mitch Mitchell, Associate Counsel, Estate Planning at Trust & Will, a service that, as the name suggests, allows you to do any of these crucial documents. (Eligible Haven Term policyholders also enjoy complimentary services from Trust & Will, also through Haven Life Plus.)

Both of these services are online, easy to use, and well worth suggesting to your family during an end-of-life planning chat. And here are some tips for having that conversation:

In this article:

What to talk about

So now that you know the when and why, let’s talk about the what. What exactly do we mean by end-of-life planning? Start by asking about a trust or a will, although there is more to it than that.

“Many people assume two things about end-of-life planning,” says Eddy. “First, you only need to do it if you’re rich, when in fact there are many other reasons to plan such as dependents, your care wishes and to reduce logistical complexity for people you love.” Having a plan, written down, will help prevent a lot of headaches and potential family arguments down the road.

The other assumption, she says, is that “if you have a will, you have an end-of-life plan.” To be clear, a will (or trust) is certainly an important part of end-of-life planning, but it’s not the only one.

On the contrary, she says, “if you think of end-of-life planning like a pizza, a will is one slice. A complete plan includes things like organizing all your accounts and passwords” (banking, prescriptions, social media).

There is also other legal paperwork. Eddy mentions health care directives, guardianships and trusts. There is also financial planning, including funeral expenses and life insurance. (We can help with that.)

Eddy also mentions “succession planning – dealing with your stories and memories – and so much more.” Lantern offers planning guidance to help you or your family members navigate these difficult issues.

How to talk about it

It is clear that there is a lot to talk about. So how should you go about it?

“Advice for conversations like this is highly dependent on your parents’ and your personalities, your relationship dynamics, and your experiences with loss,” says Eddy. If your family is the kind of family that talks about death easily, the conversation may be easier than it would be if such topics are taboo.

Mitchell says it’s important to remember that while you may be ready to have this conversation, “most people don’t want to talk about these things.” Also, “your parents may have negative experiences around death, and this conversation may make them think about their own parents’ deaths.”

However, it can provide an opportunity. “In my mom’s case, she might be thinking about her dad’s death and the probate experience and how it wasn’t good,” Mitchell says. Although such memories are not fun, they may be more inclined to make plans now to save you from going through the pain and hardships they experienced if those kinds of things are on your parents’ mind.

As for what not to say, “assuming it’s true, make it really clear up front that nothing is wrong,” says Eddy. This may seem unnecessary – as far as you’re concerned you’re just being practical – but some people will assume you’re only discussing the end of life because you’ve realized it’s imminent. Proceeding with sensitivity is always a good idea, but especially with a subject as weighty as this.

A conversation starter

“Everybody else is doing it…” How many times did you use that phrase with your parents when you were little to seek permission for something? Well, now is the time when that approach really comes in handy.

“Introduce the topic with a story that normalizes the conversation, like ‘Cousin Jeff did this for his partner and kids and said it made him feel so much better to know things were taken care of,'” says Eddy. This doesn’t just that the idea of ​​the conversation seems normal, you also have a concrete example of why it is useful.

If there’s no “Cousin Jeff,” start the conversation “by first talking about what you’ve been up to,” says Mitchell. “It can seem pushy if you start by just asking questions about your parents’ plans, whereas if you couch it more like, ‘So we finally put together our plan – it was easy, I’m glad I have peace of mind…’ like can open a door to a more direct conversation.”

Plus, seeing that their own kids have their affairs in order might just inspire them to make sure theirs do, too.

Don’t sweat the details

Be aware that however well the conversation goes, it will be the first of several such discussions. If your parents don’t have a plan, they’re unlikely to complete one while they wait for the turkey to cook. (With Trust & Will, you can actually make a Will in a lot less time than it takes to make dinner, but if a person has never thought about end-of-life planning before, they are unlikely to be fully prepared to make decisions on the spot .)

For the first conversation, “you don’t need to go into the details of the plan, just make sure they know how to find and access relevant services should they need them,” says Eddy. You should also agree on a follow-up call. What you’re trying to accomplish with your first conversation is to get your parents to agree to make or update a plan, not finalize and sign it right now.

Actually, the details are a bit sweaty

If your parents say they already have a plan, be aware that it may still need to be looked at. “If they have a written plan of some kind — a will, trust, power of attorney document — they’re most of the way there,” Mitchell says. “But there may be some quirks.”

Maybe their plan doesn’t cover things that didn’t exist when it was written (like the entire digital world), “or maybe it’s done on a typewriter with a lawyer who no longer practices, and if we wanted to ask someone about it, we’d have to start over .” If there is a plan, Mitchell suggests asking “‘When was the last time someone looked at it to see what it said?’ If it’s been a while, it’s best to ask them to take another look.

And as for you…

It turns out that your parents (or other loved ones) aren’t the only ones who are mortal. We hate to break it to you, but so are you.

So if you’re discussing end-of-life with your family over the holidays, be aware that they’ll probably ask you — quite reasonably — about your own plans. Your parents aren’t the only people in your family getting older, so if you don’t have your own plan in place, it might be time to fix that. Haven Life can help.

Our editorial policy

Haven Life is a customer-centric life insurance agency supported and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe that navigating life insurance decisions, your personal finances and overall well-being can be refreshingly simple.

Our editorial policy

Haven Life is a customer-centric life insurance agency supported and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe that navigating life insurance decisions, your personal finances and overall well-being can be refreshingly simple.

Our content is created for educational purposes only. Haven Life does not endorse the companies, products, services or strategies discussed here, but we hope they can make your life a little less difficult if they fit your situation.

Haven Life is not authorized to provide tax, legal or investment advice. This material is not intended to provide and should not be used for tax, legal or investment advice. Individuals are encouraged to obtain advice from their own tax or legal advisor.

Our disclosures

Haven Term is a term life insurance policy (DTC and ICC17DTC in some states, including NC) issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111-0001 and offered exclusively through Haven Life Insurance Agency, LLC. In NY, Haven Term is DTC-NY 1017. In CA, Haven Term is DTC-CA 042017. Haven Term Simplified is a Simplified Issue Term Life Insurance Policy (ICC19PCM-SI 0819 in some states, including NC) issued by CM Life Insurance Company, Enfield, CT 06082. Police and driver form numbers and features may vary by state and may not be available in all states. Our agency license number in California is OK71922 and in Arkansas 100139527.

MassMutual is rated by AM Best Company as A++ (Superior; Top category of 15). The rating is valid from 1 April 2020 and is subject to change. MassMutual has received different ratings from other credit rating agencies.

Haven Life Plus (Plus) is the marketing name for the Plus rider, which is included as part of the Haven Term policy and offers access to additional services and benefits at no cost or at a discount. The driver is not available in all states and is subject to change at any time. Neither Haven Life nor MassMutual is responsible for the provision of the benefits and services made available under the Plus Rider, which are provided by third party providers (partners). For more information about Haven Life Plus, visit: https://havenlife.com/plus

You may also like

  • Stock photo of woman smiling in front of laptop.  She has a video conference from home.
  • Young woman in casual clothes showing video on tablet to mature mother while resting on comfortable sofa at home together
  • Side view of sporty couple stretching on pier in sunlight
  • School bus: Line Of Kids Boarding Bus

Get our most read stories, twice a month

  • My experience with Haven Life has been nothing short of amazing from start to finish. After working tirelessly with brokers and receiving quotes that were complicated to understand online, I found Haven Life and I’m very glad I did. Haven Life’s respectful and understanding approach to issuing something as important as life insurance and doing it in such an easy way is why I would recommend Haven Life to both my loved ones and friends.

  • Excellent and very intuitive experience! Highly recommended!

  • The application was easy and got a big approval for life insurance without a medical exam within 48 hours. Good follow up and easy process.

  • Easy Breezy Wanted to get this done for a while and this was the easiest experience I could find. I feel good knowing there is some protection for my husband and likely dogs.

  • It was an easy process. The turnaround was also doable.

Source link