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There are major life transitions as seniors age that they and their families must face, such as healthcare, living arrangements, estate planning, and financial matters. These matters need addressing before a medical crisis or a legal dispute arises. Issues around elderly family members are understandably delicate to think and talk about, however, planning beforehand is crucial for the family and the seniors themselves.
If your family needs to resolve an elder-related conflict, or if you are trying to make decisions together, elder mediation may be immensely valuable to you. Kanter Ostler Mediation helps all parties arrive at ideal resolutions, without the steep financial and emotional costs. Talk to us at (619) 304-2244 today.
What Is Elder Mediation?
Mediation is a process typically used to resolve conflicts. In it, a neutral professional called a mediator facilitates discussions between parties so they can find a mutually acceptable resolution.
You shouldn’t wait for problems to crop up before going through this process. When it comes to matters regarding elders, mediation can be held as a family forum for decision-making. The mediator can guide family members to express their concerns and suggestions, so they can craft a workable plan for all concerned. It is wise for a family to enlist a mediator early on to help minimize potential disputes and crises down the road.
There is a wide array of elder-related issues that can be settled through mediation, including:
- Elder medical care
- Medical interventions desired or not desired
- Choice of hospitals, doctors, hospice, etc.
- Medication management
- Elder care responsibilities of family members
- Emergency responsibilities of family members.
- Elder living arrangements
- Residence of the senior (move in with family, assisted living, community living, etc)
- Caregiving options
- Financial issues
- Financial responsibilities of family members (e.g. bills payment, budgeting, etc)
- Workable expenses
- Plans regarding bank accounts, retirement accounts, etc
- Long-term care insurance
- Legal and estate issues
- Estate planning (last will, trusts, etc)
- Powers of attorney
- Guardianship (i.e. when a daughter or son has to become the elderly’s legal guardian)
- Plans for the family home, family business, and other assets/property
- End-of-life arrangements.
There are many unique family dilemmas not listed above that can be smoothed out through elder mediation. If you and your parents, siblings, or relatives have a specific situation, you can approach us at Kantler Ostler and see your best options.
Why Elder Mediation May Be The Better Choice
Mediation is a constructive way to deal with family issues. A qualified mediator encourages all parties to develop solutions and communicate with each other effectively. Hence, the process is much smoother and quicker than letting the issue go to court.
This is an important benefit when sensitive family ties and age-related concerns are on the line. Most elder cases are highly emotional. Family members risk having bitter arguments, and seniors may face unhealthy stress. The amicable approach of mediation helps minimize these.
The resulting decisions also come from the involved parties themselves, not from an outsider like a judge. Judges interpret the law the best they can, but only the involved family members can have a deep, nuanced understanding of their own circumstances. With mediation, elders are able to weigh in with their preferences for their senior years, and family members can protect their own rights while meeting the needs of their aging parent.
Finally, one of the biggest benefits of elder mediation is that it is much more affordable than court litigation. All parties may avoid lawyer fees, court fees, and the many other high costs associated with a court case.
What To Expect During Elder Mediation
How is elder mediation done? Typically, the mediator meets with each person first to get an idea of their concerns, communication styles, and comfort levels. Then a group meeting is set up so that all parties can discuss together. Though the mediator professionally facilitates this meeting, it will mostly be an informal discussion where participants can openly converse with each other. A simple family matter can be settled with just one or two of these discussions, but it’s also common for the mediation process to take a few more meetings.
Most issues that are mediated involve legal decisions – for example, matters of family assets, inheritance, or elder guardianship. Once the family arrives at a resolution that all parties agree with, the mediator will help them craft a legal document to be approved by the court.
Can non-family members participate in elder mediation? Yes – depending on the circumstances, persons outside the family may be included. For instance, the senior may have named non-family members in their estate plan, or the family may have a trusted caregiver whose opinions are significant.
What if the parties involved are geographically distanced? Elder mediation can be done through online meetings and sometimes even through phone conferences. Physical distance is not a real barrier for a family to come together for elder decision-making.
Contact Kanter Ostler Mediation & Dispute Resolution
Our mediators at Kantler Ostler are not only qualified professionals – they are highly trusted by families for their excellent handling of the most complicated cases. See how we can help you with your elder-related family matter. Call (619) 304-2244 today.