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Burlington, VT office 802.540.0529
Hanover, NH office 603.643.6072
Rutland, VT office 802.773.3822
Woodstock, VT office 802.457.9492

November 20, 2012 Newsletter Archive


HAPPY THANKSGIVING

May The Bounty Of Your Blessings
Sustain You On Thanksgiving And
Throughout The Year

After the first week in November we give thanks that the elections are finally behind us, no more television and radio ads, no more fliers and lawn signs, and no more robo calls. We can certainly all be grateful to the end of that frenzied season.

With Thanksgiving right around the corner and as we hurtle headlong into the joyous and often frenetic holiday season, family is on our minds. Thanksgiving is often a time of family gatherings and as such provides us a time to gain some insight and explore the delicate territory of family harmony, important conversations, and our legacy. Below we provide two articles about these all-important family discussions.

Please do not hesitate to give Melendy Moritz PLLC a call at 603/643-6072 or 802/457-9492 to discuss these articles or other estate planning matters.

Holidays: The Perfect Time to Engage Family in Meaningful Conversations

With the cooler weather and shorter days, it is clear that autumn has arrived, and before we know it, the holiday season will be in full swing. Though some view the holidays as a stressful time, they are nevertheless eagerly anticipated as a time for reuniting with family members.

Catching up with loved ones is important. It gives us the opportunity to share exciting news, such as acceptance into a college or university, marriage proposals and upcoming weddings, or developments in a family member's career. On the other hand, family gatherings can also provide a forum to share graver news: loss of a job, issues related to substance abuse or a diagnosis of a serious illness. Regardless of the tone of the news, time spent with family provides an opportunity to start a dialogue about life's current trends and the consequences which may arise.

While it may seem easier to avoid subjects like the legacy you intend to leave, sharing the particular goals of your estate plan with your family members can be a good starting point for a productive conversation. Here are some basic elements that can open the discussion.

If you have tailored your estate plan to address the special needs of a child or grandchild, let your family members know about them. Widespread dialogue and coordination among family members can ensure that an individual with special needs receives the best possible care. If you are concerned about certain individual's issues with substance abuse and have included a provision addressing substance abuse, sharing this fact can be a springboard for discussing the problem. In the alternative, if you become aware of an individual that has a substance abuse problem, you can amend your current plan to address that problem.

How you wish to shape your estate plan is ultimately your decision. Yet engaging in an open dialogue with your family members can help reduce stress and may shed light on potential concerns and issues. Though never as easy as it sounds, it can also be much less onerous than we imagine. This year, take time during your family events to have a meaningful conversation about your family legacy, values and desires. Your family will appreciate it, and you will gain some peace of mind knowing that you have shared your wishes with them.

Our Aging Parents and the Holidays

Despite the hilarious satires depicting holiday time as full of hidden family turmoil, for children of aging parents the holidays are a perfect time to relax and take time to enjoy our parents and to enhance family bonds across generations. If your parents are growing old and frail, this may not be the ideal time to bring up their plans for the future, but a time to show love and support and just what they have meant for you throughout your life.

What can you do to share your love with them? Even small acknowledgments can go a long way. If your parents are staying with you, or you with them, during the holiday season, make sure that you sit down at dedicated times each day during the stay. To build to a real conversation you have to do more than a quick fly through on your way from the living room to the kitchen. You also want to make sure you do more than just sit and watch the football game, fun as that may be.

Make tea and sit at the kitchen table to talk, face to face. Actively listen to what your parents say. If they seem to depart from one area of conversation to another, follow their line of conversation by asking specific but open-ended questions which follow their story like "tell me more about what it was like to live on your farm in Vermont" or "what was your relationship with your brother like as a teen?" Encouraging your parents to reminisce will bring forth more of a dialogue between the two of you. If you have more time, help with a family project like a scrapbook or photo album, or interview your parents to get an actual oral family history to pass to next generations.

While a holiday get-together does not resolve all of the issues surrounding aging parents, we will never regret dedicating time to our parents, and this time spent may just provide us with the insight we need to facilitate those more challenging conversations in the future.

We would love to hear from you! If you are interested in guest writing for our newsletter or simply have a comment to share, please let us know.


Melendy Moritz PLLC is a client centered boutique firm. We focus on your unique needs by providing the individualized legal counseling and advising tailored to your specific situation.

We concentrate on the planning that matters to you.
Call us at 603.643.6072 or 802.457.9492

 

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