Three tough topics older family members must tackle

By: Tim Bennett
Some decisions can’t be put off forever, no matter how difficult. Tim Bennett looks at three that families should face before, as his father-in-law puts it, “the roof falls in”.

Three tough topics older family members must tackle

Leaving everything until the last minute can get some people a long way through life. However, in three areas this approach is a mistake as we grow older.


Naturally, none of us wants to think about our own demise. Unfortunately, by not doing so we may inadvertently leave quite a mess behind for our families to deal with. So, what should families try to discuss and agree on before it is too late to avoid a mountain of administration?

Who will be my guardian, executor and beneficiaries?

There are three distinct roles that are best sorted out as soon as possible. The reason is that some sensitive conversations may be needed along the way and as such all three deserve some careful thought.
Choosing the people who will carry out the first two roles and those who will one day benefit from your death estate, isn’t always easy. Here are some factors to weigh up particularly when it comes to appointing guardians and executors.

Who will I empower to act for me in the meantime?

The next set of decisions surround what you want to happen should you become incapacitated before you die, an increasingly common side effect of our lives getting longer.

These decisions are formalised in a document called a Lasting Power of Attorney. There are two types, covering health and welfare and legal/financial matters.
Once set up, these are legally binding, so it is vital to get them done correctly and to think through the implications of some of the choices needed along the way. For example, do you want to appoint more than one attorney (children perhaps) and should they be able to act independently, or only in tandem?

What sort of care do I want and what can I afford?

Ageing can unfortunately be accompanied by mobility and other health issues. It therefore makes sense to consider where, and how, you may want to live should your health start to deteriorate.
Some of the factors to weigh up and discuss with other family members are summarise below;

To find out more

If you would like to discuss your family situation and/or how to set about tackling some of these key issues, please contact a Wealth Planner, or email me at the usual place at [email protected].