Courtesy of Elder Law Answers
One of the hardest things for aging parents and their adult children to do is sit down and have a frank discussion about the future. Such conversations are difficult for two principal reasons: they involve acknowledging the realities of aging and mortality, and financial details must be shared. But putting off these conversations until it's too late can have catastrophic consequences, both financial and emotional.
Dan Taylor, an attorney and financial planner, has written a book called, The Parent Care Conversation: Six Strategies for Transforming the Emotional and Financial Future of Your Aging Parents, which helps adult children broach the subject of future planning with their parents and, once the conversation gets rolling, to provide a useful framework for discussion. Taylor presents a system that grew out of his experience with his own dad's care.
For Taylor, the "Parent Care Conversation" is comprised of six separate conversations: The Big Picture Conversation (the parents' overall vision for their future); The Money Conversation (financial planning needs and strategies); The Property Conversation (how to distribute property and possessions); The House Conversation (what to do with the family home); The Professional Care Conversation (the parents' preferences for care, should they need it); and The Legacy Conversation (a summing up of the parents' journey).
In this way, Taylor allows children of aging parents to cut issues down to size and often turn potential obstacles into opportunities. The book is filled with case studies, tips and checklists.
The book's wise counsel, however, is somewhat undercut by some gratuitous and completely false comments about the consequences of Medicaid (also known as Medi-Cal in California) transfers -- comments that seem aimed simply at scaring the elderly and their families into avoiding Medicaid planning at all costs. Taylor implies that elders could be accused of "defrauding" Medicaid merely for transferring assets within Medicaid's lookback period, and that they could be subject to "civil and criminal charges and fines" for doing so. If you or someone you know has questions about Medi-Cal planning, contact our office at 1-800-756-5596.