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How to help your senior relatives handle their final wishes before they pass away

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Everyone has a bucket list, and your aging relative must have crossed off most of the items on their list. However, nothing beats the experience of an amazing trip for a person on their last mile in life. 

When someone reaches their golden years, there’s a big chance that they have made investments and created a significant amount of wealth. Needless to mention, however, no one lives forever, and this is something that seniors know all too well. When you’ve seen it and done it all, it reaches a point where you should start thinking of keeping what you struggled so much for protected even when you are gone. This is where estate planning, Wills, and Trusts come in. 

However, not many seniors are keen enough to realize when it is time to establish a trust or write a will. Still, some are just ignorant or unaware of the various benefits that come with estate planning until they are just about to rest easy. If you have a senior relative in such a situation, here are some ways you can help them handle their final wishes before passing away. 

1. Get them an attorney
A Will is a legal document, and, on that note, the person's wishes are protected by law. Anything that the law protects or recognizes has some terms and conditions that only a professional in the field can give guidance on. Furthermore, you may know very little about wills or trusts in the first place. One of the best ways to help a senior loved one at their critical moments is to get them an estate planning lawyer before they pass away. The legal professional will provide your relative with crucial legal advice that will ensure their last wishes are honored. 

The attorney will also advise your aged relative appropriately on actions they should take to ensure their assets/property, or their estate are protected even after they pass on. With the right legal counsel, they can easily draft a will that reflects their wishes and be sure that they will be executed without fail.

2. Introduce the topic mindfully
Research shows that death and sex are the most difficult topics for seniors and their juniors to discuss. Most people will, however, find it easier to talk about sex - which is essentially the beginning of life - than talk about death or related topics. Therefore, even if you intend to help your senior relatives have their final wishes drafted, you need to do it with an open mind since you will be ringing bells that their time on earth is almost up. Introducing such a topic needs you to choose the right words and make sure you take the right approach, lest you get a very ugly conversation in return.

3. Enlighten them on the importance of having a drafted will or estate plan
After you have found a way to approach the topic by having them draft their final wishes, you need to get them to understand why exactly this is important. You need to sell out your thoughts as to why they should get their last wishes drafted. There are several benefits you can sell to them. For example, you can have them understand that the will and letter of wishes will speak out for them on how they would wish their property and assets to be subdivided. At the same time, a written will prevents the occurrence of disagreements between children or beneficiaries and other relatives.

When they understand just how important drafting their wishes would be, they will for sure think about it and most probably give in. It is easier if you have them speak to a good lawyer as mentioned above.

4. Give them space and time
With aging come several issues. Therefore, even as you advise the seniors on why and how to ensure their last are honored in their absence, you need to make sure you have given them all the space and time they may need. Sometimes, if your presence is overwhelming, they might mistake you for having hidden agendas. Also, you don't want other family members to start suspecting that you have ill intentions. As much, as you are all family, don't let your idea of helping out be taken as a way of fulfilling your motives.

Therefore, even as you offer your advice, make sure you have given them the autonomy to seek reference elsewhere, as well as including other family members. Better yet, you can speak to other potential beneficiaries and handle the issue as a family as opposed to going it alone. This will save you lots of family drama associated with the drafting and execution of wills.


Phoro by carolynabooth from Pixabay

5. Do something fun together
Everyone has a bucket list, and your aging relative must have crossed off most of the items on their list. However, nothing beats the experience of an amazing trip for a person on their last mile in life. Here, you will want to be a bit creative when choosing your destination, and think of a place you must go before you die. It could be as simple as taking a walk together along the Great Wall of China or camping on the Mozambique Island. Just ensure you do something fun with your senior loved one, perhaps as you discuss their other dying wishes. 

To be honest, final wishes are among the hardest topics to discuss. This is especially true if the senior relative is so close to your, say, your dad or mom. Nonetheless, they are important matters, and you may be required to swallow the hard pill. The above are just a few helpful tips on how you can go about it to ensure that your relative’s last wishes are honored and respected.


Main photo from Pexels

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