Sister wants elder to make estate plans

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Dear Amy: My older sister is 75 and unmarried.

She has three grown children in their 50s. I am eight years younger than she.

My sister has always avoided aging and seems in denial about mortality.

When I visited the family a few months ago for her 75th birthday party, my niece expressed concern to me that my sister has made no provisions for death or unexpected illness.

She has no will, power of attorney, advance medical directive, or burial or cremation instructions. Attempts by my niece and her siblings to discuss any of this with my sister are quickly dismissed. My sister refuses to talk about it.

Last year I shared with my sister my general estate plan, including the fact that I have a will, power of attorney, trust, and advance medical directive, and gave the names of my appointees.

I had hoped that sharing such information might nudge her to do similar planning. No luck. My niece is concerned that she and her siblings will be left holding the bag to make critical medical and other decisions for their mother without any idea of what she would want, and that the three siblings might not agree.

This is not about monetary inheritance, as my sister doesn’t have a lot of money. My niece has asked me to try to influence my sister to at least prepare an advance medical directive and burial or cremation instructions.

Should I stay out of this or get involved — and, if so, how?

— Concerned Sister

Dear Concerned: Yes, you should attempt to speak to your sister about this. It might be best not to overwhelm her with estate planning, but do encourage her to appoint a health care proxy as a start.





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