• Robert P. Newman, Esq.

Steps For Starting the End-of-Life Conversation



Death and taxes. No one ever really want to discuss either, especially not discuss death and dying. And yet, it is 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.

I counsel many clients about this topic, but recently I had to once again practice what I preach. As some of you know, recently both my wife and my Legal Assistant had surgery on the same day. Just prior to their surgeries, each of them prepared their Advance Directives and Living Wills. The thought of them needing these documents was not easy for either of them under the circumstances, or me for that matter. Nevertheless, they each had the “talk” with their families and loved ones, and we got the documents completed.

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.

If you have been dreading having this talk with your own parents, children or other family members, there are a number of steps you can consider.

Just Ask

Before launching into this tough conversation, it is 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.

Aim for Clarity

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.

Do Not Get Sidetracked

This is a tough one. Likely no one really wants to talk about it, or would rather talk about something else. But you have 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.

Keep the Conversation Going

While it may feel like a one-time conversation because it is emotional, or hard to have if your loved one lives far away, remember that it is 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.

Need Assistance? Give Us a Call

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 call us at 301.892.2713. We are here to help!

Live with Your Bags Packed!

#AdvanceHealthcareDirectives #livingwill #family #estateplanning

0 views

o. 301.892.2713

f. 301.883.1533

801 Wayne Avenue, Suite 400
Silver Spring MD 20910

©2020 by the Law Office of Robert P. Newman, P.C.