Who wants to talk about a loved one passing? Or planning for the future? Almost no one. But the reality is that you absolutely should. As someone in her forties, I know that I am extremely lucky to have three of my grandparents still with us and both of my parents. However, my husband has lost all of his and his mother passed ten years ago. No one can predict the future. Good genes help, but sometimes things just happen.
When it does, it usually falls upon the adult children to take charge and make decisions. This is made much easier if certain conversations are held over time between family members to convey wishes, desires and express what they want to happen to them.
When creating an estate plan, there are multiple documents in the plan including a Living Will. The Living Will essentially lays out what the individual wants in his or her final days medically. This could include their desire for artificial respiration, nutrition, life support, surgery to prolong life, chemotherapy, or other drugs, and organ donation. This document gives their family an outline of what their desires are at the time of what, guidance on what to do if they cannot speak for themselves at the end of life. However, it is very important to point out, that the individual has every right to change their mind at any time regardless of what is on that piece of paper.
But having conversations with family members while healthy, makes these decisions less burdensome at a time already fraught with emotion. Knowing your parent’s wishes, understanding their belief’s and reasoning, will help you support their decisions.
Please see the Resources page for more information about the Conversation Project for ideas on how to start having these types of conversations, and how to make them more meaningful as well. If you have any questions, or would like to schedule an appointment to discuss creating a Living Will or Estate Plan for your and your family, please contact me at 610.915.8181 or click here.