Recall the four stories from my blog entry entitled “Elder Care and Estate Conflict Resolution”:
Story 1 – The Family Business
Story 2 – To Sell Or Not To Sell (The House)
Story 3 – Who Should Be In Charge
Story 4 – How To Divide The Stuff
These stories serve to highlight some of the numerous decisions families must face as parents age or leave us. A list of just a few of these decisions will serve to demonstrate the complexities of these matters:
Living Choices – Nana falls and breaks her hip. Following a hospital stay and a stint in rehab, it is clear that Nana can’t live alone anymore.
Care Options – Nana can’t live alone anymore, but she has plenty of money and can hire full-time help. Is this the best choice, however? What type of care is available?
Who Should Be In Charge – Nana’s cognitive or physical capacities have diminished. Who is going to make sure her business affairs are managed properly? Who is going to coordinate her medical appointments with docs covering different specialties? How will she satisfy her social needs?
Capacity – Who decides if Nana has the capacity to make her own decisions? What if she still has her cognitive capabilities but she is either (a) too stubborn to cede any responsibilities to others or (b) too timid to assert herself. What if her cognitive capacity is slipping and she either (a) wants to retain full control of her affairs or (b) wants to give up all responsibility for managing her life?
Driving – Nana insists that she is capable of driving after backing into a neighbor’s car.
Distribution of Assets –
Nana (who is wealthy and has many valuable antiques) dies. The will specifies who should get the real estate and the money, but is silent on how to distribute the stuff (personal property, such as jewelry, furniture, valuable antiques).
Nana dies. Oops, there is no will.
The Family Business – Nana was the matriarch of a $30m business. Several siblings worked at the business – all vying for control. Nana dies without creating an effective succession plan.
The telephone rings and your sibling, with whom you share very little in common, calls to tell you that Mom has fallen and broken her hip. She has had surgery and has been released to a rehabilitation center. It is unlikely she will be able to return to live in her home of 50+ years. You and your siblings can’t decide the best next step, even with help from the medical experts and social workers or geriatric care managers. Contact Keystone Conflict Solutions LLC at firstname.lastname@example.org or (404) 314-7228 to see if Mediation or Conflict Resolution Coaching will be helpful in resolving these disagreements.