It’s tough to talk about. No one likes thinking of their demise. Yet with proper planning, you can ensure your estate plan and healthcare arrangements reflect your wishes. Careful consideration of how and who you prefer to handle your medical decisions and proper legal documentation that permits these actions will provide peace of mind. If you are unsure of the scope of these discussions, meet first with your attorney, who can provide you with a framework of necessary topics.
Having a Conversation with Family About End-of-Life Care
Broach the topic openly with your family and get a sense of how they handle this topic. Request a specific time a couple of weeks out to provide family members the time for reflection in their own space to process what the meeting will entail. If you can meet in person, opt for a quiet and comfortable space. If it is necessary to meet virtually, be sure to permit time for everyone to express themselves fully. As the focal point of the meeting, you should prepare your thoughts and wishes to express them concisely and with some structure to ensure you cover all topics. Saying words aloud in preparation will help you stay pulled together and address your tenor and tone. Keeping yourself grounded emotionally during this talk will help family members do the same.
Be prepared for the unexpected in terms of your children’s responses. They may push back on some of your wishes. For example, if you have a medical directive requesting a do not resuscitate (DNR) order, your children may have difficulty accepting your perspective. Ultimately your medical care rests in your decision-making hands, but exhibit patience and hear out the requests and wishes of your loved ones. You may have to respectfully disagree with their point of view by re-emphasizing your needs and why they are essential to you.
The Importance of Addressing Your Power of Attorney
Be clear about your power of attorney and healthcare directive in your meeting. You may have already selected these representatives but need to explain your thought process, or you may need to identify who among your loved ones is most capable in these positions. In concluding the meeting, provide a recap of decisions made so that everyone is clear.
After your meeting, your final step is to formalize your plans with your estate planning attorney. Call 570-784-4654 to schedule an estate planning meeting with one of our qualified estate planning attorneys.