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Going to have the morbid talk with my parents. Tips?

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
I've already brought it up, I just want to make sure when we talk, we cover all the bases.

My parents will be coming to visit in a few weeks, and on a sudden impulse, yesterday I mentioned to my mom that we should talk and make sure I understood all her wishes and so on. (My parents are not ill or anything, I am just being preemptive). After I talked to her I also emailed my dad (they are married and together and everything but I thought it would be better to email him so he could think about it).

Here are the bases I want to cover when we're visiting - some I've already got answers on, but is there anything else you can think of?

I plan to approach the ILs on the subject soon, too. Fortunately I know they'll be open to the discussion and won't be weird about it.

- Have a will? What lawyer is it filed with? Have a copy at home or in a deposit box? Where?
- How do you want your body prepared? Embalmed? Not? Cremated? Green burial?
- Preferences on a container, if any?
- Do you have a plot? If not, where do you want to be laid to rest/ashes spread?
- Special funeral instructions?
- Do you want to donate viable organs?
- When, if ever, would you want the plug pulled?
- Feelings on heroic measures?
- Do you have LTC (long term care) insurance?
- If you are end-of-life ill, where do you want to go? Do you want to come stay with us?

That's all I could think of, anything else? I guess there's pets, but we'll be responsible for their pets, either take them in ourselves or find a good home.

I guess maybe some people should ask who the executor of the estate will be? It would definitely be me for my parents. I think MIL already told DH that he has been named executor, though that might cause some hard feelings with his sister (not sure). She's older, but MIL chose DH not because he's the male child but because she felt DH's values are closer to hers so he'll be more likely to follow her wishes. (i.e. SIL would probably be unable to make a decision to take MIL off life support, but DH could). So I guess this makes me think that when we have the talk with the ILs we should be certain that SIL is included - to exclude her would just be poor taste (not that I purposely would - it's just we have to make special plans to be sure she's included), plus there will be no surprises after the fact.

It was actually good that I talked with mom anyway, since it seems my mom is unsure about some details (she wants to be cremated but unsure about spreading ashes or being in an urn over my dad's plot). I told her I wanted a green burial and she'd never heard of it; I sent her a link and for all I know she might actually choose that instead. So anyway, it was good to get the conversation going since my folks don't even have all the answers yet. I'll have to push my dad because he does not think about stuff like this - I mean, not because it's morbid but he's just not a planner, period. But that doesn't mean he doesn't have preferences, so he should think about it.
post #2 of 32
My dad has put my dh in charge of all that stuff. I actually don't even know the details. I'm happy for that It's not a fun talk for sure.
post #3 of 32
How about locations of financial accounts? It would be useful to have a list so that you know that there is a chequing account at Bank A and Bank B, the mortgage is with Bank C, safety deposit at bank B, savings account at online Bank D, car loan with E, and investments X, Y, Z.
post #4 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyamo View Post
How about locations of financial accounts? It would be useful to have a list so that you know that there is a chequing account at Bank A and Bank B, the mortgage is with Bank C, safety deposit at bank B, savings account at online Bank D, car loan with E, and investments X, Y, Z.
An interesting thought, but isn't that in the will? Our will includes the location of our accounts, but I guess I can just ask my folks if that info is in there.

I don't mind talking morbid stuff but honestly I'd rather avoid talking money if I can.
post #5 of 32
Find out were they keep documents, lawyer, and request that they discuss were the best place to store documents. There are some state laws involved but a safety security box in a bank could lock important paper work up for much longer time than desirable.
post #6 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by laohaire View Post
An interesting thought, but isn't that in the will? Our will includes the location of our accounts, but I guess I can just ask my folks if that info is in there.

I don't mind talking morbid stuff but honestly I'd rather avoid talking money if I can.
No they are not. Also insurance company information. My grandpa had a policy he didn't tell anyone about. Luckily the company was honest and paid up when they found out about his death - four years later.
post #7 of 32
I'd want to know where they keep documents like title to house and car, insurance policies, bank accounts, investments, and so on.
post #8 of 32
Good for you. I've actually already had the discussion with my parents. It's not fun but better when they are well. My friend's dad had a strike 3 weeks ago and she is dealing with all this now and a brother who won't visit but wants money.....
post #9 of 32
A safe deposit box is not a safe place for a will unless your name is on the box and you have a key. The bank will not release a box without an executed will, and without a key you're SOL. My grandmother took me into her bank to put my name on her box and gave me a key so i wouldn't have to fight w the bank.

Something else to ask about is the type of funeral theyd like. Religious or not, somber or lively, etc.
post #10 of 32
My mom has very helpfully taken the initiative to have this conversation with my sister and I. But this is reminding me that I should raise it with my dad & stepmom too.
post #11 of 32
FlyLady has a "control journal" for this type of thing - calling it the "Alien Abduction" notebook.

Basically, everything someone would need if you were abducted by aliens or run over by a bus.

Keeping it in a binder is a good idea.

Others things I'd include in the internet age: email addresses/passwords, Facebook user ID/password, that type of thing. Any online banking, utilities, etc., website info, user id/password.
post #12 of 32
I bought a book awhile back on organization. The last chapter was about organizing "end of life" stuff. I told my mom about "this great book". It was a conversation starter and found out my parents had already handled that stuff.
post #13 of 32
Ugh, my in-laws have no will. They also want to be transported from Texas back to New Jersey to be buried. Insane.



Yes, the worst place for a will is the safety deposit box. Give notarized copies to a friend who does not live with you.

I already have medical guardianship over three girlfriends because they don't trust their husbands to pull the plug on them should a vegetative state happen to them. After a reasonable period of time has passed... you should quit wasting resources and let the body go.
post #14 of 32
First of all, it seems kind of odd that you would be bringing this up with your ILs, too. Shouldn't that be dp's job?

I think you have a good list of topics. The only thing I would suggest is that you ask, not just if they have a will, but if they have specified who gets what in it, in terms of family stuff.

For example, my mom has family silver, nice rugs, old furniture from her folks, good jewelry. I told her that I really didn't care who gets what, but that I wanted it to be her decision, not something my siblings and I have to figure out at a difficult time. We went through all the significant stuff, made a list of everything, and then she put someone's name next to each item. Each of her three kids was mailed a copy of this document so there would be no surprises and no wrangling over it.
post #15 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by zinemama View Post
First of all, it seems kind of odd that you would be bringing this up with your ILs, too. Shouldn't that be dp's job?
You'd think, right?

I do let hubby talk to his own parents. Though I might remind him of a couple of important things.
post #16 of 32
It might make it easier and less uncomfortable if you start by talking about your own wills. With whom have you filed? What's the plan for custody and trusts? Once you've laid your information out there, your parents might be more comfortable discussing their own plans.
post #17 of 32
Do they have Powers of Attorney? For finances and health care? Incapacity or disability are circumstances in which they will want something in place without having to wonder about it. (A Living Will, if legal in your area, may address some of the concerns.)
post #18 of 32
Even if they have a will, ask if it's been reviewed recently. My mom found out AFTER dad died, that my father's will--made 30+ years ago by an Air Force lawyer--wasn't signed properly or notarized properly, or something, and she ended up having to jump through hoops to settle his estate. And dad's death was expected, but they just never thought to have the will reviewed.

Good luck
post #19 of 32
Good for you! I'll be watching this thread. I tried to talk to my parents about such things before and my dad gave vague answers to everything and my mom blew up if we ever mention aging or death. (They're 71 and 66.) She's got no wishes or plans, because she doesn't ever plan to die or get old enough to not able to take care of herself.
post #20 of 32
Oh, a subject i had to bring up with my grandmother - if she were to no lnger be able to live on her own, has she explored options? With the extended lifespan afforded us by modern tech/medicine, oftentimes it's not death that sneaks up but infirmity, either of the mind or body. And since she is in otherwise good health but no longer able to take care of her 4 bedroom house without hired help, its a reasonable concern.

After having that conversation, on our next visit she informedme that she had been to the open house at the local place we had discussed and met w a financial planner to work out the details, just in case.
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