Preparing for the Meeting

It may not be important or best for all family members to know everything about their parents’ lives or financial affairs. What IS important is that parents have:

  • gathered together their important papers
  • made known, to at least one family member, the location of important papers
  • prepared for the possibility of incapacity and communicated their wishes
  • considered how to pay for long-term care should the need arise

hand writing on a notepad

Before the meeting, make a list of other concerns to be discussed and questions to be answered. Also, decide who will take notes. At least one person should record any tasks that require follow-up, such as taking action to legalize the selection of an individual and alternates for the durable power of attorney for health care and checking into costs of long-term care and long-term care insurance.

To familiarize yourself with the important papers that all adults should keep and where they should be stored, review the “Legally Secure Your Important Papers: Organize Your Important Household Papers” learning lesson. Use the Organize Your Important Papers and Record of Important Papers online resources.

For more information on paying for long-term care, see

Lesson Contents

I. Introduction

II. Advance Directives for Health Care

III. Starting an Advance Directive Discussion

a. Plan Ahead
b. Hold a Family Meeting
b.1. Deciding Who Should Be Involved
b.2. Preparing for the Meeting
b.3. Suggested Case Studies
c. Talk Among Family Members

V. Learn More


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Communicate Your Advance Directives for Health Care belongs to a series called Legally Secure Your Financial Future. The series also includes information to help you organize important household papers and begin preparing your estate plan.