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Father’s Day: Advice for Fathers, Grandfathers, and Adult Children

As Father’s Day approaches, it’s a time to celebrate the important men in our lives. For many of us, this may mean our husbands, the father of our children, our fathers, grandfathers, or and father figures who have shaped us in countless ways. We celebrate those who have cared for their families well and who have shown love in varied and meaningful ways. 

One of the many ways that love and care are shown is through planning for peace of mind. I talk about it often: We give our loved ones a great gift when we make plans and make decisions before health crises or even death occurs. Whether you are an aging father facing the need to make plans for the future, a father of young children who wishes to secure their future, or you have a father whom you need to approach regarding the future, there is something that you can do this month to bring about peace of mind and to show care. 

For the aging father whose children are grown, planning for peace of mind entails estate planning. Doing so ensures that your wishes and values are honored in the event of your incapacitation or passing, and also allows your children to grieve rather than be overwhelmed by stressful decisions and tasks. Take these steps to begin.

If you are a younger dad, the above steps hold true for you as well. We never know what the future holds for us at any age. However, for the father with minor or young adult children, there are additional important steps that you should take to plan for peace of mind. 

  • Choosing a guardian for your children is of utmost importance, as it will ensure that your wishes are carried out in the unthinkable situation where you are unable to raise them.
  • As those kids move on to adulthood, remember to ensure that you can help them in the event of their own medical emergency. Once they turn 18, even if they live at home or are in college, there are important documents that you need to have in place. 
  • Don’t forget your pet. You love them and want them to be taken care of, so plan for it.

For those whose father may need to be reminded of the above, it is important to approach the subject delicately. In fact, unless it is your only opportunity, broaching the subject at your  Father’s Day gathering might not be the best idea. When the time is right, keep the following in mind. 

    • Approach with Empathy: Initiating conversations about estate planning can be sensitive, especially with aging parents who may find it uncomfortable to confront their mortality. Start by expressing your genuine concern for their well-being and emphasize that these discussions stem from a place of love and responsibility.
    • Focus on the Benefits: Highlight the positive outcomes of estate planning, such as ensuring their wishes are honored, protecting assets from unnecessary taxes and fees, and sparing loved ones from unnecessary legal complications and financial burdens.
    • Listen Actively: Allow your parents or loved ones to express their concerns, fears, and preferences regarding estate planning. Active listening fosters trust and encourages open communication, paving the way for productive discussions
    • Break it Down: Estate planning can feel overwhelming, so break it down into manageable steps. Start with the basics, such as drafting a will, naming beneficiaries, and appointing an executor.
  • Talk about maintaining wellness. While it’s important to discuss planning for health emergencies and death, don’t miss the opportunity to focus on maintaining wellness and improving quality of life for as long as possible. From basic daily self-care tasks to easing the mental load of life by simplifying and practicing mindfulness, there are many things that families can do to experience a more joyful life together.   

Regardless of your position as father, grandfather or adult child, communication is key! And though we’re talking about Father’s Day right now, this advice holds 100% true for mothers, as well as individuals who do not have children. We honor one another when we openly communicate about the future, even the uncomfortable parts. Whether it’s a heartfelt conversation over a shared meal or a formal meeting with an estate planning attorney, take the time to ensure that yours and your loved ones’ legacies are protected for generations to come.

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