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A ‘Friends’ Thanksgiving: Talking About Guardians

It has been a long time since David and I tuned in to ‘Friends’ to watch the antics of Rachel, Ross, Monica, Chandler, Joey and Phoebe.  But our oldest daughter, Hannah, recently came home from college with Mono. After the initial concerns, questions, blood tests and actual diagnosis, we settled in to a new routine which quickly let to binge-watching ‘Friends.’

To our surprise, Season 8, Episode 9 was about estate planning – and it was spot on.  Rachel and Ross were having a baby, and discussing with their friends who they would want to raise their child if something were to happen to either one of them. (They chose Monica and Chandler.)  The conversation surrounding their decision brought up everything David discusses with families.

Rachel and Ross would only want Monica and Chandler together.  What if something happened to Monica?  They knew they wouldn’t want just Chandler. (He was hurt initially but, ultimately, understood.) Why didn’t they pick Joey or Phoebe?  It wasn’t because they didn’t love them, it was just they didn’t think they would raise their child the way they wanted him or her to be raised.

As David and I sat watching this with Hannah and our younger daughter, Sadie, the questions started coming.  Hannah was privy to who we chose as her guardians, but Sadie, while we told her, either didn’t remember or didn’t pay much attention when we told her and had lots of questions.  Who did we pick as their long-term guardians?  What if something happened to Aunt Kate?  Who were our short-term guardians? Why?  Why didn’t we choose granny Norma or Granny Sue for a role?  Who will pay for college for her?

‘Friends’ Season 8 Thanksgiving: The One with Rachel’s Other Sister

Have you had these conversations with your kids?  Have you had these conversations with each other?

The week Hannah’s been home has invoked a lot of questions –and further solidified why what we do at The Parents Estate Planning Law Firm is so important. Not only questions from our girls about guardians and planning for their future, but I was posed the question “Do you have written authority to answer questions about Hannah’s health?” every time I called her doctor.  Every. Single. Time. It will come as no surprise that Hannah does have the documents in place that every 18-year-old should have – one less thing I had to worry about!

David and I are always encouraging our clients to speak with their relatives about the importance of planning.  But, as our children get older, it’s equally important to speak with them about the decisions we have made.  Children want to know they will be taken care of if something were to happen to their parents – who will they live with, that there will be enough money, and in general, what will happen?

While your family is together this holiday, take the time to have these conversations. I promise, no matter how they go, in the end you’ll be so glad you did.

Happy Thanksgiving!



Paula Feakes

Paula Feakes is the Client Services Director of The Parents Estate Planning Law Firm, PC – a law firm for families in the Acton, Massachusetts area. Paula helps parents protect the people they love the most. To learn more, call her at 978-263-6900, or email Paula@ParentsEstatePlanning.com.

Feature image courtesy Warner Bros.

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