Discussing the end of life is never a favorite topic. There never seems to be the right time to bring up such a weighty subject. However, it is important to think about how you want your end of life care to be handled and to ensure you set up your estate planning to reflect your wishes. If you have not yet discussed your end of life care with your children, make this an upcoming priority. Think about how you want your medical decisions handled and who you want to be your power of attorney. Sit down with an elder law attorney to draw up the right legal documents to ensure your wishes are upheld.
Finally, sit down with your children to talk about your end of life care. If this feels like an overwhelming task, we have a few tips to help you out. Having this conversation will be extremely beneficial for both you and your family. Remember, if you need an elder law firm in Southwest Florida, we can help. Our attorneys and staff have a long dealt with the special issues facing our older clients.
Prepare Your Family for the Conversation about End of Life
Before you spring this delicate conversation on you kids, prepare your family for the conversation. Let them know this will be the topic. For some people, talking about end of life care can be very difficult and it might not be something your kids have thought about very much. Approach the topic by first bringing it up and requesting a time to talk about your wishes. By asking your kids if they would be ok with discussing the topic, you give them time to process what it will entail.
Set up a designated time to talk about your end of life care. This will allow your kids their own space to think about the topic before they sit down with you. This can help make the conversation less emotionally charged and will give you time to prepare as well. If you get pushback from your kids about discussing your end of life care, try to gently remind them that it is an important topic for anyone at any stage of life.
Choose the Right Setting to Discuss End of Life
Bear in mind if you are doing this soon it might need to be a zoom meeting rather than face to face. When you do decide to have this conversation, make sure that it is designated for this topic. Don’t try to slip it into a birthday or baby shower celebration. You want to have the focus on this topic without lots of extra distractions. Opt for a quiet and comfortable setting with plenty of time designated for the conversation. Before you start the conversation, do a little preparing yourself. Think about all the details of how you want your end of life care handled from who will be in charge of decision making to what finances you want used. Make a list of points you would like to get across, then mark them off as you go. This will help when you get sidetracked into questions or opinions your kids will no doubt offer. Keep coming back to your list to keep the meeting flowing. The more prepared you are, the easier it will be to explain your wishes to your loved ones.
Listen, But Stick to What you Know
When you talk about end of life care, it can be an emotional conversation for your children. Be prepared for pushback on your wishes. For example, if you have a legal order written up in your estate plan that requests the doctors do not resuscitate you, your kids might balk at this, not understanding your perspective.
Be patient with loved ones and hear out their requests and wishes as well. However, always remember that your medical care is ultimately in your hands and you should be allowed to choose how things are handled at the end of your life. Listen respectfully, but emphasize what you are asking for and why it matters to you.
Talk to an Elder Law Attorney about End of Life
When it comes to end of life care, you need more than a will to protect you. (In fact the will is only for after you die.) Talk to an experienced elder law attorney to ensure you have all the documents you need in order. An attorney can walk you through the details of creating an estate plan, which protects your assets, name a power of attorney to help you manage your finances, and designate a health care surrogate (with back-ups named) to talk with your doctors if you are ever unable to convey your wishes.