Talking to Dad about his driving: the surprising side of difficult conversations
Do you think it will be tough to ask Dad to hand over the keys?
Surprisingly, a recent study from Liberty Mutual showed that 84 percent of seniors are open to talking about the safety of their driving, but that only six percent have actually had the discussion. As Liberty Mutual put it, “Seniors are open to driving conversations, but their children are avoiding it.”
Straightforward conversations about so-called "difficult" topics can alleviate misunderstanding, and they may help families avoid future litigation. Family members often welcome the opportunity to discuss important, if sensitive, issues more than you might expect.
Many families also have Advance Health Care Directives in place – and if you are not sure whether or not your family members have one, you've found a good place to start the discussion. If your parents or family members are open to it, ask them to explain their wishes, motivations and concerns to you. Be prepared to discuss a range of specific medical topics.
Aging parents also need to take initiative to spark these conversations when they can. Estate plan conversations, for example, can seem daunting, but parents need to talk to their adult children about their plan. They have created it carefully. Now, to help ensure that the estate plan goes according to plan, parents should consider talking with their families about how to distribute assets and why they have made certain choices.
Some parents anticipate that the conversation might be difficult now, and that is a reasonable concern. But just imagine what emotions and conflicts could arise if a child or family member is shocked when the will is read. Explaining motivations and allowing discussion in a supportive environment can help everyone accept and prepare for the future.
The conversation itself may be difficult, but it can avoid adding stress, surprise or uncertainty at a later, more challenging time.
For more than 30 years, Gilfix & La Poll Associates LLP has innovated creative legal solutions to help you manage and plan the future of your estate.