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When my grandparents were in their 70s and 80s, every time any one of us family members brought up the subject of death planning, they immediately tuned us out and said "I'm still in good health. I don't want to talk about that now." We wanted to get them to start thinking about things like purchasing burial plots, pre-purchasing funeral arrangements at a local mortuary, getting their will estate documents, and power of attorney documents in order.

I'm not sure whether this is a cultural thing or not (my family is of Chinese heritage). But now that both grandparents are in their 90s, getting them to do any of this now is like pulling teeth. We don't want to spend tens of thousands of dollars in purchasing all of that for them; they have their own money and we want to express that they should use their money to buy things that they will need and to help us take care of them down the line. However, none of that registers with them and they are more than content with just eating their meals, sleeping all day and watching TV. They say stuff like "You have to take care of us. We don't want to talk about stuff like that right now."

A two-fold question would be: for future reference, how would we start getting family members to start thinking about this stuff even if they don't want to? And second, now that we are in this situation, what can we do? They can barely leave the house (to buy stuff at cemetery, mortuary) and can also barely sign documents (power of attorney, adding beneficiaries, etc.). Even when we do bring them certain documents to sign, they ask what it is over and over again and when we explain it, they say, "I don't want to sign it right now." It is very frustrating. Thoughts?

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Funeral home wanted close to 3k for my hubby and another 3k for my mil so when it comes to my death is I rather pay 3k for something I like when I'm still alive and I left almost everything to my bff and when it comes to throwing me in a nursing home I'm fine with it they don't seem that bad
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And for myself since my family passing and I have no children im 52 I don't see a reason to pay for my creamation or burial but I did make out a will . poa etc already and I'm donating my body with medcure
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Pam I love your first statement and agree but your second has me scratching my head. I too am over sixty and to not help the next generation with your care is just crazy. I don't want my kids to toss me into a nursing,home and throw away the key because I was too much of an a-hole to work with them. At some point we need help and it is better to get loving care from our families than letting a stranger sign our checks, feed us, or hold our hands in the end. Respect goes two ways.
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Yep guardianship and my hubby wanted to pay for his and his moms cremation but she refused to sign cuz that would be like signing her death bed but after my hubby passing I took over her poa n got her creamation plan setup cuz now that she's passed still never got to her to setting up
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blannie, thanks for your suggestion. I will keep that in mind.
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pamstegma, thank you for your perspective. One of the frustrating things as a children/grandchildren is needing to help but not being able to. If the elderly claims that they can take care of themselves and doesn't want us involved then we would gladly stop caregiving. It is when my grandparents need in-home medical care, hospice care, and are demential and yet refuse to do the things that would eventually help them out. For example, you suggest paying their funeral bills from their estate. How do we actually do that since the probate process can take months after death? Funeral and mortuary expenses need to be paid up front immediately so we'll have to pay out-of-pocket and hope to see some of it back after the probate process. We are not asking grandparents to sign over any assets nor add joint account holders. All we were asking was: "Hey, it's time to start thinking about buying a cemetery plot. Hey, it's time to start thinking about a mortuary plan. Hey, it's time to start thinking about who can make medical/financial decisions for you when you are in a coma."

I don't think it's too much to ask. We are asked to help and given nothing to work with. If we are told to go fly a kite, we would gladly go about our daily lives (it's not like we are begging to care for aging grand/parents).
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I would appeal to their sense of control. "You've worked hard all of your life to live the way you want. Make sure that your wishes are respected at the end of your life and with your estate." So give them a sense of controlling what they've spent their lives creating...assuming that they have built something.

I got my dad to buy a Camry instead of a Corolla that way. I told him he'd worked hard and he deserved to have a nicer car for him and mom. He was very frugal (way to go dad!), but I wanted my folks to use their money to their own benefit. It worked with my dad. So appeal to their egos...also, they can set a good example for their children and grandchildren, which I would think would be respected in your culture.
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noblerare, I can tell you as an old person myself, that anyone who asks me to "help the next generation" will be tossed out the door immediately. No I will not sign over my house or make my kids joint account holders. Nope.
I would even tell the Judge you want my money and to appoint an independent Guardian if I am nuts. Then I would make my Will out to my favorite charity and tell you to go fly a kite. I am 63.
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Thank you all for your suggestions. I suppose it's just a matter of continuing to appeal to their desire to want to help their spouse/next generation and not let their money be given to the State. It was also suggested to me that if it still becomes a problem, perhaps I need to have the State declare them as incompetent and name one of our family members as executor of their estate.
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If they are of clear mind, and it sounds like they are, forget Guardianship. You can still write their obituaries. You can still do some pre-planning with a funeral director. The funeral bills can be paid from the estate when they die. You can write a very simple Will and have two non-relatives witness it if they are willing to sign it. Other than that, they have the right to do nothing and let the Probate Judge sort it out.
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Point out to them how much more economical pre-need funeral/burial services are, additionally making these arrangements at the time of need is a significant burden during grieving. Not only is this financial and emotional burden being placed on you, but also on the surviving spouse. Maybe you can appeal to Grandfather's natural desire to protect his wife.
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The way I got my parents [90's] to perk up and start making decisions is when I said if they don't update their Wills, etc. then the State will take a big chunk of money from their estate for taxes. I still haven't been able to light a fire under my Dad to finish filling out the paperwork for the Trust, but at least I got them to update their Wills, Power of Attorneys, etc. It's a start.
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Guardianship. It sounds like they are beyond being able to understand what you are trying to get them to sign. Once you have guardianship, you make all the decisions including money. Find a good elder attorney.

One of the things I brought up to mthr when I was trying to get her input on final plans was to introduce it as having heard about a bargain on the radio (I did!). There are companies who accept the deceased remains of people and distribute them for medical research. Instead of costing the 10K or more for a simple burial, the family is only responsible for a memorial service if they want it, and the body is cremated and returned or scattered over the Pacific for no charge. Isn't that a wonderful option? "Yes, saves money." Mthr, you wanted to be cremated, correct? "Good idea but I'm not dead yet." What do you think about donating your body to science? "Not right now, I"m still using it, I'll have to think about it." Since this was the most I have been able to get out of her, I was comfortable setting up the plans utilizing the medical research company. If she fails to qualify (weight, condition), I will have her "direct cremated" for only $1K.
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