I recently wrote on where to start with estate planning. A part which isn’t required but often necessary that wasn’t included in the list involves having the end-of-life conversation. No one wants to discuss death and dying. And yet, it’s a critical time in everyone’s life and one for which we know we need to prepare. While many people have the desire to share their wishes, something is preventing people from openly communicating with their families.
As an important part of estate planning, healthcare decisions need to be talked about. This helps preserve your legacy and provide peace of mind for your loved ones. You can rest easy knowing that if they need to act, they are carrying out your end-of-life wishes as you would want.
I recently read a great article by Pia Catton about how to have the talk with your parents. If you’ve been dreading having this talk with your children or other family members, there are a number of steps you can consider.
Before launching into this tough conversation, it’s not a bad idea to pose the question “when?” Ask your loved one when they might have time to discuss your estate planning and healthcare decisions. By introducing the topic in this matter, no one is caught off guard and it can help everyone to reflect on what they really want to communicate before sitting down.
Do whatever you can to help make these conversations clear. Write out a list of major points you want to make ahead of time. Be prepared that your family may come with questions they want to ask about—inclusion of family members in the decision-making process, preferences for memorials, etc. Simplicity and clarity can help neutralize the feelings of anxiety that everyone may be having and help everyone walk away from the conversation with the peace of mind they were hoping for.
This is a tough one. Likely no one really wants to talk about it, or would rather talk about something else. But you’ve got to get through it. So even though the conversation will no doubt be rife with opportunity to reflect, remember and opine, try to stay on task. You want to make sure that everyone walks away from the conversation with a better understanding than when it began.
While it may feel like a one-time conversation because it’s emotional, or hard to have if your loved one lives far away, remember that it’s not a one-time deal. You are simply opening the lines of conversation, not setting anything in stone. Remembering this will help empower everyone to be open.
Talking about your end of life decisions can be hard, but it is an essential part of estate planning. If you have any further questions about how to have these conversations or would like us to help facilitate this discussion, please feel free to contact us at (678) 809-4922 and schedule a free consultation. We are here to help!