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Talking to Your Children About End-of-Life Care

Posted on November 15th, 2021

Our Mooresville attorneys at Daly Mills Estate Planning understand how difficult it is to have end-of-life conversations with anyone, especially your adult children.

If that is true for you, you are not alone.

According to a 2021 study published in the Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services, 90% of people think it is important to talk about end-of-life wishes with their families, but only 27% have done so.

The most common reason why these conversations remain unsaid is that parents do not want to upset their adult children by talking about death, and adult children do not want their parents to believe they are thinking about their deaths.

For many people, there is a real fear that talking about death with a loved one will only lead to a faster occurrence. The reality is, that simply is not true.

These conversations produce results. People who discuss their end-of-life wishes with their adult children or other loved ones are less likely to burden relatives with tough medical decisions or spend their final days in a hospital.

Here are a few tips on how to get the conversation started.

Mentally and Physically Prepare for the Conversation

Before you dive into a serious conversation about your end-of-life wishes, prepare yourself mentally and physically for the talk.

Outline your finances, any existing healthcare needs, future healthcare requirements, and how you want to spend your time going forward.

A common misconception is healthy people do not talk about their end-of-life needs. However, nothing could be further from the truth.  In fact, the best time to talk about end-of-life needs is while you are still healthy.

Your adult children need to know your strengths and concerns, and how you would like each addressed if you fall ill or are in a debilitating accident.

Now is the time to answer the all-important statement: What matters to me at the end of life is…

Being comfortable at home?

Having the financial standing to live in an assisted living community?

That your kids work together to make decisions?

Keep in mind, these conversations might reveal disagreements, which is completely normal and expected. Reiterate to your adult children that now is the time to discuss these issues, instead of during a medical crisis.

Our Iredell County can help outline each of your estate planning needs, including asset protection to ensure your wishes are fulfilled, and long-term care needs, which will allow you to present a clear plan to your children for feedback.

Timing is Everything

Talking to your adult children about end-of-life planning should be a planned conversation, not one that unfolds during a birthday party or another event.

If you catch your children off guard, especially during a celebration they are going to reject any mention of the topic, and potentially be upset about the idea of bringing it up now and later.

Schedule a private lunch or dinner with your adult children and understand that the conversation’s content is going to be uncomfortable, but that it needs to happen.

Make it clear how important it is for you to discuss your wishes when starting the conversation, and that an “I don’t want to talk about this” response is unacceptable, but that you do understand why the conversation may be upsetting.

Keep the conversation focused on planning not death and allow everyone to give their feedback, so no details are left to chance.

Make Sure Everyone Knows What You Want

Whether you plan to live for decades, or if you are actually in the end-stage of life, having a conversation about you want to live out the rest of it is essential information for everyone to know, including your spouse, partner, children, and healthcare providers.

You will want multiple people to know what is important to you and what your values are, so you can maintain the quality of life you have enjoyed thus far.

When you have a concrete plan in place, you are relieving your family of the burden of indecision.

Leaving your family members to question whether they made the right decision or wonder if they honored your wishes places them in a difficult and often traumatic position.

That is why it is so important that family members especially the person who has healthcare power of attorney – know your wishes, so they can advocate on your behalf.

Contact Our Skilled Charlotte, NC Estate Planning Attorneys Today

Our North Carolina estate planning attorneys can help you and your family create legally binding powers of attorney, wills and trusts, and end-of-life care plans that provide confidence for your future and allow everyone to take a sigh of relief that all decisions have been made, and now all everyone has to do is live their lives to the fullest.

To learn more about how we can help you and your family create a customized estate plan to protect your wishes, call us at 704-286-8437  to schedule an initial consultation with our skilled attorneys in Mooresville, North Carolina at Daly Mills Estate Planning today.

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