COURTESY OF MATT BARON
With families spread out across the country, Thanksgiving is one of the few times of the year when we are able to gather together.
We eat. We laugh. We share. We even fight.
But what we don’t do is talk about how we are going to manage our affairs, as we get older.
One of the biggest stresses anyone will ever go through is the inevitable decline and death of a loved one. How you prepare now will determine how well that stress is mitigated in the future.
So last month, as Thanksgiving approached, Elder Law attorney and professional speaker Ben Neiburger partnered with Lifecare Innovations and Elements, the cremation company, to launch a campaign aimed at getting families to have the tough conversations while they are together, so that future Thanksgivings are filled with fond memories and not bitter regrets.
#Thinksgiving is a campaign to open up the lines of communication within families and across generations.
“I get people contacting me all the time after a sudden debilitating illness or even a death and they have absolutely no idea where to find all the information they need to get started,” says Neiburger, an Oak Park resident whose Elmhurst-based firm, Generation Law, focuses on estate planning and elder law issues.
“Often mom or dad is too ill to help or they’ve already passed,” Neiburger added. “This is when we need to have everything available in order to manage their affairs properly. And too often nobody knows where to find the important documents.”
“Unfortunately we seem hardwired not to want to talk about these issues and it results in not only complex and expensive legal hassles – but incredible stress that short changes the grieving processes and causes unnecessary heartache.”
In response, Neiburger, Lifecare Innovations and Elements have created a set of downloadable talking points to get the conversation started while everyone is together. They have created a 13-point checklist online (at http://generationlaw.com/family-ready/) to help individuals evaluate how prepared they are for the future.
When both tools are used individuals and families will have a good idea of where they are in the planning process and understand what needs to be done to make sure future Thanksgivings continue to be a joyful time for family.