While reaching complex, ever-changing life stages sparks a range of emotions and highlights the significance and benefits of financial decisions, there’s one awkwardly smouldering topic that remains universal among Australians approaching their golden years – estate planning and preparations for medical requirements and preferences.
Although a task usually dreaded and saturated with family complications, there are a few vital things to consider when divvying up your estate ensuring your loved ones receive and most importantly, understand, how and why your wishes were intended as such.
Let’s look at the five primary conversations to navigate when constructing your will and planning for possible unfortunate medical and health related circumstances down the track.
Speaking with your doctors or specialists
Apart from perhaps your closest family, it’s safe to say no one else knows you or is familiar with your medical conditions better than your personal doctor or designated specialist.
These are the people in your life that can accurately provide you with their honest opinions, predictions and suggestions relating to your future medical requirements.
The professionals that have looked after you for decades are a great place to start to plan for likely health issues and to discuss options should things take a turn for the worst.
Discussing your beliefs with your family
Religious views and belief systems vary wildly across the globe and are often discussion points rarely raised between family members.
Where your thoughts lie on sensitive subjects including DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) orders, among other operational or surgical procedures are all important and very real scenarios that your family will appreciate your guidance on.
Specify your expectations, concerns and comfort levels
Will preparation should be perceived as a positive opportunity to motivate your family, outline expectations and provide personal advice and inspiration to each of your children, grandchildren etc.
Utilising this time to convey concerns and specify discomforting or unsettling situations such as funeral, burial or cremation arrangements or personal, ongoing feuds is likely an effective method to get things resolved.
Discuss nominating family members and their potential responsibilities
It’s common for people to have closer-established relationships with particular family members and it’s imperative for a will to recognise and reflect these.
More often than not will family be waiting for you to initiate these conversations so it’s crucial to jump on top of these early and avoid leaving decision-makers in the lurch.
Also remember that not all next-of-kins, siblings and other family members see eye-to-eye, as this might be another influencing factor regarding things like DNR order appointments.
Explain and clarify your will intentions for the ultimate peace of mind
Unfortunately, estate planning and setting inheritances in stone can oftentimes become incredibly messy, turning into legal battles and creating permanent animosity within what was once deemed a loving, caring and humble family long after the will-maker passes.
Leaving out the intricate details or vaguely expressing requests and intentions only complicates matters. The more that’s left undecided the more difficult it becomes for your family to distinguish or decipher intentions and entitlements.
The last thing you want is for your family to be broken up over finances and assets that were purposely salvaged to make their lives easier in the first place.
Communicating with those dearest to you regarding worst-case health crisis’ and inheritances can be extremely tough. However, delaying these conversations and procrastinating with options is often exponentially more regretful should a situation affect your capacity to thoroughly enjoy the rest of your days or genuinely convey reasoning.
Don’t leave it until it’s too late to make such monumentally life-changing arrangements, express your estate and medical wishes and to involve your family in these difficult discussions as soon as possible.
Disclaimer: The content of this blog is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. This blog should not be relied upon as legal, financial, accounting or tax advice