Have you discussed your end-of-life wishes?

Even though this discussion is beneficial, it is by no means easy. logistically and money wise, it is both equally beneficial to make them.  While you are still healthy is its best time to develop a plan.

Some people are fairly mindful that it is beneficial to talk to specific loved ones touching on specific end-of-life wishes. Decisions touching on end-of-life care are really personal based on their principles and values. Understandably it’s a topic most find intimidating to imagine touching on, much less plan for. These days 90% of people understand having this conversation with loved ones about end-of-life care is beneficial, yet only 27% follow through in doing so. Although it will be intimidating to start the conversation, in the end, it will be some kind of priceless gift to the ones you love and those providing medical care. Seldom do we include in the plans how we wish to die.  In our lives, we will plan our academic and career paths, marriage, children, and retirement. Families and schools perform fire drills to prepare for an emergency. Even when death follows a prolonged illness, families are too often not prepared for it.  However, families are not often prepared for medical emergencies that will end with death or significant disability. Death just isn’t part of our life planning process.  Emergencies can happen to anyone at any time. 

Pick a Person, everybody needs a representative.

Choose a proper location. Normally, a private location is actually best.  Choose a quiet, comfortable place that is actually free from distraction. Having this a sensitive discussion with your loved ones talking about specific end-of-life wishes will be an emotional conversation.

Here are a few things to consider when you are ready to talk with your family to prepare.

Who do you wish that to have the legal rights to make decisions for you in case you are unable to make them yourself? This person should be someone you trust to speak on your behalf and make decisions.  This could be a spouse, adult child, sibling, parent, close friend, etc. It is actually quite healthy not only to inform the person who has been called upon, but also to inform any other family members or close friends that may possibly wish that to be included.  For example, if you would like your brother to be included as a decision maker and you have a spouse. It is important to know who will make what types of decisions when the time comes. Even more important, make sure to tell your representative that you wish that him or her to accept that role. This is a chance to tell other friends and family who you have designated.  Take this time to tell your designated person their specific rights and responsibilities. Have you documented that in a power of attorney? You may want to have different people take on particular responsibilities. Each representative goes by different names and often share roles – health care proxy, surrogate decision maker, or power of attorney, etc. Another common term is a health care power of attorney.  If you or a loved one does not designate a person, each state has laws regarding who is actually its default person. Put it in writing. Make a plan that works for you.


Hospice services are one of many end-of-life planning options available.  According to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, approximately 8 out of 10 Americans say they would prefer to die at home, yet only 20 percent of Americans do.  Review your options and understand if in-home care, hospice care or some kind of alternative option is the most appropriate. 

Health Care Options

Not everyone has an advanced care directive that expresses specific wishes in the event of some form of emergency or death.

Not everyone has an advanced care directive that expresses specific wishes in the event of some form of emergency or death.


Health care is another important topic to discuss. If you want the best care with no misinterpretation regarding your desires and wishes, it is really truly wise to be well prepared for your later years. Your preparations will ease unwanted pressure on friends and family members. Doctors are often left asking family members to make decisions on behalf of specific loved ones. Human health is really complex and procedures are always changing. procedures and new technology are continuously improving. Include your health care providers in this part of the discussion with your loved ones. Your health care providers will assist you and give a better sense of what each of your current options means in a way that you can understand it best on an individual basis. There are also endless possibilities for health concerns, and many fear overlooking bad scenario or giving a bad directive. Some concerns may include decisions regarding artificial nutrition or fluids through a feeding tube? Dialysis machines in the event of kidney failure? breathing machine if unable to breathe? Transition care to hospice?

What is an advanced care directive?

Often known as proxies, directives award decision-making to another person. This is typically a trusted friend or family member who will act on your behalf if you're incapacitated. This person will be responsible for power of attorney, arranging funds for services, making caregiver decisions, coordinating care or arranging services.

56 percent of deaths occur in hospitals, clinics, or other medical facilities.  Doctors are not good at predicting exactly how long people will live. It is also not always clear if patients are still capable of making specific decisions on their own. Doctors rarely have end-of-life discussions with every patient. I'm guessing, that maybe making end-of-life decisions or having the discussion forces a person to face their own mortality. Doctors expect (and hope) that families are prepared to understand the wishes of their loved ones in medical emergencies. If you have not had a discussion touching on this with their loved one before, it may be hard to make its decisions in a time of crisis.  If you fail to make your wishes clear in advance, family members will be burdened with trying to understand what you would have wanted. It is very important to have advance directives and people you trust to assist you in critical situations. You may not always be responsive enough to make your preferences known in real time. It is better to have this intimidating discussion while you can, this is easier than the alternative when it's just too late.

Important Documents



A living will is a healthy document you should have. A living will establish a plan of action. Often plans change. The right living will prepare for ongoing changes.  Committing to a plan in a living will turn out to be productive. In the most straightforward explanation, a living will is a document that defines a preference for medical procedures, such as life support, feeding tubes and more.  It's a way to record your personal views in the event you are unable to communicate them yourself. For example, if you are unconscious following a serious car accident and you need some form of emergency operation. Even though a living will is a legally binding document, you can adjust your preferences as time passes to match your current philosophies.

Many estate planners today are include end-of-life documents or final directives such as powers of attorney, living wills, and special medical directives. All the same, you and your loved ones should insist on careful planning for long-term care during the estate planning process.  Many of us in our senior years overlook this healthy aspect of planning, which is often referred to as “life resource planning”. Your estate planner should be included in this planning process for your long-term. Professional expertise can be quite valuable when crafting a long-term care plan. An elder law attorney or a qualified estate planning financial advisor who specializes in estate planning will design documents for you that will assist in an orderly transfer of property and assets to its next of kin.