Grandpa, Mom, please pass the sweet potatoes; pass the turkey; pass the financial/aging planning? Welp-the holidays are upon us. Next up are Hanukkah-begins November 29, school concerts, pantos, Christmas, and other winter holidays. Kwanzaa begins December 26 with Unity day. January brings Epiphany and Orthodox Christmas (6-7) The Super Bowl is February 13, and Chinese New Year is from February 1-15, 2022.
Will you be seeing a lot of family in the next 8-12 weeks? I reckon, so let’s plan for it! Call it Family Sleuthing 101.
Some family members you’ll see once a year; others you see more regularly and then there are the chosen family that ‘pop in’ for a Turkey/Black Eyed Peas/KaleSlaw dinner. Much can change with your parents or other family elders in a year, even six months. Since the pandemic started, it may have even been longer since you’ve seen each other IRL.
Some things to consider:
- 1.If your relatives are asking for some help, or ruminating about how they are having trouble “keeping up with the paperwork” this year, pay attention. Broken things, burned out light bulbs are additional clues.
- Listen carefully to any stories about telephone fundraising for groups you have never heard of. Be patient so you can get the entire story.
- Urge relatives to never give to groups they are not familiar with, or who have called them first, or groups that sound like established non-profits (but aren’t). Do ask them about their favorite charities, and why they are important!
- You can help check groups out here at give.org or at Charity Navigator or another charity evaluator organization.Do share this link from the Federal Trade Commission on avoiding scams.
- if you can, take a look at the mail, the bills, and the online accounts (if you have access.)
- Save and Invest.org has an informative PDF called Fighting Fraud 101 that you may wish to read or share this year.
Another family dinner topic is a family member’s health, or deaths of other loved ones. This can also be a good opportunity for you to ask some hard questions of your elders. (It is often hard for both parties, but you are doing it because you wish to respect their values as much as possible).
- Where is your will located?
- Who is your doctor and do you have a current Health Care Directive (they are different for each state-here is the WA one) or POLST on file? You can upload them to a patient portal.
- Do you have a Long Term Care (LTC) insurance policy and what company is it with? Did you purchase the inflation rider?
- What are your thoughts on “heroic measures”, “ventilators”, quality of life and palliative care?
Please take the time to add a financial planning course to your holiday meals and visits this year.
Your family members will thank you (perhaps not right away!) and it is time well spent.
- POLST – A better way to die (bangordailynews.com)
- Death in the Family-More Transparency Please (this blog)
- Have a Caring Conversation This Holiday Season (nhpco.org)
- I Ate Thanksgiving Dinner With My Identity Thief For 19 Years (ABC.com)
- Book: A Year to Live: How To Live This Year As If It Were Your Last by Stephen Levine