Tuesday - May 11, 2021

7th (Non-Financial) Secret to Saving the Family Fortune

May 13th, 2009

Many people ask me when they should start talking with their aging loved ones about what they want for the future – where they want to live, what they want their prized possessions to go – that sort of thing. I\’ve heard people say the general rule of thumb is “40/60”. In other words, when you turn 40 and/or when your loved one turns 60. I personally don\’t agree. I say no matter how old you are or how old your loved one is, start now! A while back I asked you “How do you define “family fortune”?” I pointed out that most people say money when, in fact, that\’s... Read More

6th (Non-Financial) Secret to Saving the Family Fortune

April 14th, 2009

If preserving your loved one’s dignity as well as their estate is part of the family fortune you and your family care about saving; If their health and protecting their right to make health care decisions is important; If preserving their lifestyle in the face of a crisis is important; If avoiding airing their “dirty laundry” is important; If you want to avoid the lawyers, going to court, going through conservatorship proceedings is important; then it is particularly important that you make sure that your aging loved one’s advance planning documents are in order. However, have you tried... Read More

5th (Non-Financial) Secret to Saving the Family Fortune

March 12th, 2009

How often have you heard about siblings who aren\’t speaking because of some minor dispute that happened years ago? Maybe you know of siblings who were getting along just fine until they started talking about family issues and now they aren\’t speaking. Or maybe a conversation brought up old baggage. When we have strong emotions and/or opinions, it\’s difficult really to listen to someone with different, equally strong emotions and/or opinions. Maybe there is rivalry for Mom and Dad\’s attention. When dealing with eldercare, anything is possible. Eldercare can bring... Read More


February 13th, 2009

One of my favorite television shows is “Cash in the Attic”. On the show, an antiques expert goes to people\’s houses and searches for treasures and then takes them to auction for them. A lot of the stuff is from garage sales and flea markets, others are actual antiques – inherited pieces. Sadly, many times the family members have no idea where an item came from or the story behind it. Today they found an antique writing slope with a sock in it. The daughter remembered that the slope had belonged to her mother and that she kept important things in it. When they opened it, they found... Read More


January 13th, 2009

As you gathered at Mom & Dad\’s house over the holidays, did you happen to notice items that you would like to have such as ornaments, holiday dishes or silver? (Oh come on . . . I\’ll bet you did!) And even if you didn\’t, I can assure you at least one of your siblings did! In previous columns I\’ve talked about the family fortune as it relates to helping Mom/Dad – specifically working together to make caregiving decisions. But saving the family fortune can also mean preserving and distributing “stuff” and that\’s what we\’re going to look at this... Read More

Is It Time To Be Concerned?

December 12th, 2008

Singing Christmas carols, lighting Hanukkah candles, roasting chestnuts by a roaring fire – things most of us will be doing in the next few weeks. This is also the time of year when we see parents and other aging loved ones that we may not see the rest of the year. You may be surprised they have aged (I know I\’m surprised every morning when I look in the mirror!!) but that doesn\’t necessarily indicate a reason for concern. On the other hand, regardless of how often you talk by phone throughout the year, seeing a loved one in person can tell you a lot more than phone calls alone... Read More

2nd (Non-Financial) Tip to Saving the Family Fortune

November 12th, 2008

In last month’s article, “7 (Non-Financial) Tips to Saving the Family Fortune” we looked at what family fortune means to you and your family. Understanding this is important because when families get involved with caregiving and difficult decisions need to be made, all kinds of sibling issues can come up from who should bear the day to day caregiving responsibilities to how much money should be spent to “mom loved you more than she loved me”! When difficult decisions need to be made, if you don’t look at the big picture, you may lose the most precious family fortune of all – the... Read More

7 (Non-Financial) Tips to Saving the Family Fortune

October 14th, 2008

How do you define “family fortune”? Most people say money but that\’s not the only thing you\’re “rich” in. “Family fortune” can mean anything from collections such as spoons and stamps to photographs, written material (bible, poems, diaries, letters), documents or records (marriage certificates, awards, military discharge papers), handmade items (quilts, needlework), antiques/art, jewelry, even every day items like kitchen utensils. “Family fortune” can also mean family relationships, family history/memories/traditions, the family reputation/privacy (family “secrets”)... Read More


September 12th, 2008

September . . . the start of a new year! Sure, I know people think January 1st is the start of the new year but September and a new school year always marked a fresh new beginning for me. I loved going back to school . . . . Seeing old friends; meeting new ones; new classes; new teachers; all the extra curricular activities; and all new supplies!!! When I started working, I felt the “new school year” excitement at work, too. Everyone back from vacation and everything hurdling toward the end of the year. But for your aging loved one, September can be a very difficult time. During the... Read More

Emergency Planning For the Elderly with Pets

August 11th, 2008

As I said last month, emergency evacuations are devastating and traumatic under any circumstances. This is especially true for the elderly – especially the elderly with pets. Last month I wrote about planning for major emergencies such as 9/11, Katrina, wild fires, floods, or tornado\’s. This month I\’m going to cover a far more likely scenario – a personal emergency such as a medical emergency wherein your elderly loved one needs someone to take care of their pet for the short or long term. We\’ve all heard of stories about an elderly person who won\’t leave their... Read More