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You could make things simpler for yourself by having a checklist with points of discussion and accounts so you can be certain that you remember everything you want to discuss with your parents. If emotions get high, it's easy to forget something that you really want to discuss. If possible, alert your parents and your siblings that you’ve prepared ahead of time a list of accounts that you'd like to share with them. Don't make the mistake of concentrating on numbers. The important thing is to get a general understanding of where their accounts are held and what it is you will need to know if they became unable to access their information. Some of the things that should be on this list would include information about their savings and checking accounts, their insurance policies, their mortgage holder and status (if appropriate), their debts, and other assets and liabilities. You will need to know about their wills and who is the executor. And you should ask where they keep their important documents such as titles and certificates.
Discuss their end-of-life wishes
The sad fact is that not everyone feels okay about filling out a living will and care plan. You need to be gentle when you bring this up with your parents and have them share their preferences with you. Explain to them that as their next of kin you will be in charge of making difficult choices in terms of their care and that you will respect their wishes. Spoiler alert – this can be a very difficult conversation if you don't agree with your parents' choices. In fact, if you feel strongly that you can’t carry through with their wishes you’ll need to encourage them to appoint some objective party in their living will. This will relieve you of the pressure and ensure that their wishes are carried out.
If you or your parent has never filed out a living will here's a video that will teach you what you need to know.
If a parent can no longer live independently
What is your surviving parent's expectations if he or she can no longer live independently? Would they prefer to move into your guest room, into a retirement community or would they wish to have in-home care? When discussing their plans and preferences try to find compromises. For example, you could ask when they would like you to or when they expect you to intervene. Make sure they understand that you really want to follow their wishes. Approach everything with care and concern.
You may not get all the answers
Keep in mind that this will be one of the most emotionally difficult conversations you will ever face. Your goal should be to have things go as smoothly as possible and for you to get all the information you would need in case of an emergency. If it turns out that they're unwilling to answer certain questions, just accept this. Nagging or pleading with them to get answers to questions they don’t want to answer isn’t likely to produce a positive conversation.
If you approach things with kindness, love and understanding you should be able to have a hard but productive conversation that will get you the answers you’ll need when the time comes.