End of Life Wishes and Estate Disputes

Does any of this sound familiar?

Your siblings insist that they don’t want strangers taking care of Mom, yet they aren’t willing to visit, let alone help out.  You can’t help thinking that they don’t want Mom to have outside care, because outside care is expensive, and will quickly eat up their expected inheritance.

They don’t offer to take Dad to doctors’ appointments.

They don’t believe that you are the target of verbal, or even physical, abuse from your Alzheimer’s afflicted parent.

They accuse you of forcing Mom or Dad to sign a “do not resuscitate” order.

You and your siblings are arguing about whether to stop treatment and give Mom or Dad pain-relief medication only.

The time to gather together with a mediator (a trained, neutral third party) is earlier rather than later.  Giving each family member a chance to state their concerns and perspective can reveal good intentions and good ideas.  This works best when the issues first arise, but even long-term disagreements can often be resolved through mediation.  Mediation can take into account all the issues involved, help create solutions and maintain or repair family relations.  Mediation works powerfully to create solutions while being gentle on the people involved.

Common sources of trouble:

Disagreement about treatment options

Unequal distribution of the burdens of care-giving

Disputes over the benefits and costs of outside caregivers

Surprise bequests to unexpected recipients

Unequal distributions to heirs

Pre-death loans or gifts not accounted for in will (so one heir benefits more than the others)

Claims of undue influence by a late-in-life caretaker or much-younger second spouse

Claims that a disinheritance was the result of a recent mental disorder

JCMS offers FREE mediation to Jefferson County citizens and businesses.  Mediation is a good way to discuss your differences reasonably, with a neutral third party (a mediator) to facilitate the conversation.  The mediators won’t tell you what to do, give legal advice, or say who is right or wrong. They are trained to help people with disagreements to work together to find a resolution, instead of yelling at each other.  For more information on mediation, go to our website at www.JeffcoMediation.com, or call us at 303-271-5060.  Para el Espanol, 720-577-5826.