Archive for November, 2012

The Difficult Talk About End of Life Issues

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

When my kids were little, I worried about ‘the talk’.  You know…the one about the ‘birds and the bees’.  Like most things in life, it wasn’t as bad as the worry beforehand!

Now is the time to have another type of difficult talk.  This is the talk about end of life issues.  What sort of medical treatment do you want in case you are found to have a terminal disease?  Who should be in control of your finances in case you develop Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia?  Who do you want to take care of your kids if both parents are hurt and not capable of taking care of them?

I wrote a post some time ago about whether or not you need a Power of Attorney.  This was followed by a post on who you should name as your Power of Attorney.  Yes, these posts are pretty old, but they also still make good sense, just like some good advice such as “don’t spend more than you make”.

Another difficult topic for ‘the talk’ is how to handle medical decisions if you are not able to make those decisions yourself.  Again, I had a previous post about making an Advance Directive that you can find here.

The holidays are a time when families get together and it might be a good time for ‘the talk’.

I know people don’t want to dwell on unpleasant things and the incapacity or death of a loved one is unpleasant.  But I have found through personal experience that it is so much easier to go through those difficult times when I knew what my loved one wanted to have happen.

Sometimes it might be easier to have this talk with an outsider.  As an estate planning attorney, I have this conversation with clients and families all the time.

No, this isn’t because I like being ghoulish.  I do this because this type of talk can give the gift of peace of mind to the entire family. Things are always easier to face when we have a plan.

If you already have these documents in place, this is a good time to review them to make sure your wishes are current.  Sometimes we change our minds and that’s ok.  And sometimes we have the documents in place but haven’t discussed them with the rest of the family.  Now might be a good time for that talk!

If you have any questions about this or any other legal subject, please feel free to give us a call at 757-234-4650 or visit our website at