Holidays are not the time to talk about after-life arrangements

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Holidays are not the time to talk about afterlife arrangements
Holidays are not the time to talk about afterlife arrangements

Remember when our parents, in their frustration said, “talking to you is like talking to a wall!?”

Most of us laughed and thought nothing much of it.

My, how the tables have turned! Now, we are also parents. And, like many of my clients, we want to speak about end-of-life planning, wills, powers of attorney and other such pertinent matters.

It’s now our kids who are saying, “I don’t want to talk about such nonsense.”

Yes, this is like talking to a wall.

Yet, why do we believe that holidays are the best times to talk about this stuff? It’s a holiday, people! No one wants to hear this maudlin conversation.

Sure, this must be discussed. But, we need to be sensitive with how and when we broach the conversation. I advocate taking the time to write it down, and even record, the conversation. Give your child your version and let them hear it when they want to. They will, but they just don’t want to see your face, or your eyes, when you are explaining a time when you are no longer here.

Give them time to reflect on this, in their own quiet moment, and believe me, they will.

This is tough stuff to digest. I’m a believer in family discussions. I grew up in a household of family discussions, but I also balked at the idea of discussing these matters with my folks. My reality, in my mind, was that they weren’t going to die. Or, there will always been another time to talk.

And, you know what? I did not have that conversation with them.

Fortunately, my mother wrote everything down – and sent it to me. When did she get so smart! I read it, when I was ready—and asked questions, when I was ready… and it worked.

The wall came down and I heard the message.

Let’s allow the holidays to do what it’s intended – let’s just be together and enjoy the moment. Discussions about burial plots, insurance money and funeral seating arrangements are meant for another time and place. It’s my suggestion to let these matters occur at the time that’s best for your child; when he/or she has the mental space.

Take my advice for what it is… It’s just, AS I SEE IT!

VIALeonard F. Baer
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Leonard F. Baer
Leonard Baer's practice focuses on Elder Law, and Estate Planning. His previous experience was in the area of complex criminal litigation, serving as Deputy Chief of the Major Crimes Division for The United States Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Florida. Mr. Baer was recognized by the Office of The Attorney General, as one of the top prosecutors in the country during his tenure. He has been included in North Carolina Top Rated Lawyers, a distinction awarded to those lawyers recognized by their colleagues as leaders in their field. He has also been recognized by the Florida Bar, for his efforts in representing seniors and their families, who are victims of scams and fraud. Mr. Baer is an AV rated lawyer listed in Martindale-Hubbell, and has been selected for inclusion in their Bar Registrar of Preeminent Lawyers, which for over 90 years, includes only those select law practices that have earned their highest rating. He has been designated by Martindale-Hubbell as preeminent in his field, and in the top 5% of all lawyers practicing in the United States. Mr. Baer has also been ranked by AVVO, an online Legal Directory of over 200,000 lawyers nationally, as Superb, their highest rating. He served as adjunct professor of Sports Law at The University of Miami, and is a frequent lecturer on the topics of Elder Law, Estate Planning, Asset Protection and Fraud Protection. He has been a columnist for several newspapers for over 13 years and currently has a nationally syndicated blog, “As I See It” with a readership of over 25,000.

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