When it comes to end-of-life issues, you cannot afford to put off conversations with your family.
Granted, death and dying are not fun topics.
Most people would choose to talk about anything else.
Perhaps you are one of those people.
Nevertheless, sometimes we have to do what we do not want to do.
Because it is worth it.
Still, it is easier said than done.
But it can be done if you make it a priority, according to a recent post on the website seniorhomes.com titled “10 Steps to Communicate Your End-of-Life Wishes.”
You cannot communicate your wishes if you do not know what they are.
Work with an experienced estate planning attorney to get a durable general power of attorney and an advance health care directive.
What do these do?
A general durable power of attorney gives a trusted friend or family member the ability to make medical decisions on your behalf.
An advance health care directive outlines your treatment and health care preferences in the event you are incapacitated.
Do not leave room for error.
Be sure your wishes are legally documented and make a point to explain them as soon (and as fully) as possible.
Find a time to share your wishes.
You do not want to put this discussion off for later.
Although you could have this discussion at any time, some situations naturally lend themselves to this.
What events are these?
- Birth of a child.
- Death or serious illness of a loved one.
You can even ask your estate planning attorney for a special meeting.
Revisit the discussion.
Your family situation may change.
Others may raise points you had not considered.
If this occurs, you can always update your plan.
Do not ambush your loved ones.
Before beginning this discussion, inform your loved ones of the topic.
Asking permission and providing some advance warning can reduce tensions.
Have end goals in mind.
Your goal for yourself is likely to have your wishes honored.
Your goal your family is probably to give them a confidence and a peace about the choices they may need to make on your behalf in the future.
Choose an appropriate location.
You will want it to be a place where you can focus on the task at hand.
It should also be a private and comfortable place.
Do not only talk.
Your loved ones may have things they want to say.
Let them know you value them and their thoughts.
Listening is the best way to do this.
Know your audience.
Not all people process information the same way.
Tailor your conversation to the audience.
You are leading this conversation.
You are responsible for the cadence of the conversation.
By implementing these suggestions, you may have a more pleasant conversation.
Do not delay.
You cannot predict what will happen tomorrow.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your financial, tax and estate plans, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage competent professional counsel.
For more information about estate planning in Overland Park, KS (and throughout the rest of Kansas and Missouri), visit our estate planning website and be sure to subscribe to our complimentary estate planning e-newsletter while you are there.
Reference: seniorhomes.com (December 22, 2016) “10 Steps to Communicate Your End-of-Life Wishes”