Tips for Discussing End of Life Decisions with Your Family

Your arrangements for end of life, also known as an estate plan, are not the most pleasant of topics to discuss with your loved ones, but it’s something that will make the lives of everyone involved much easier when the time comes to implement this plan. Individuals who haven’t prepared their family in advance, or even worse – who have no estate plan in place - can leave a heavy burden for other family members to carry as they work through the probate process. Our estate planning attorney at the Lake of the Ozarks knows this topic carries a heavy burden, but we’re here to offer some tips on how to make it a little easier to discuss your end of life decisions with your loved ones.

Meet with an Estate Planning Attorney

A good place to start is to meet with an estate planning attorney that reviews with you your family structure, past, present and future life events and any particular concerns that you have, the types of assets that you own and how they are titled, and your estate planning goals, such as how your assets should be dispersed, who should be in charge, and how health care decisions should be made in the event you can no longer make them.   From these discussions, the attorney can work with you to implement the estate planning tools that will best meet your goals. 

Plan Prior to the Family Discussion

Once your estate plan is in place, you may consider discussing some or all of your end of life decisions with your close family. This is not a conversation easily sprung upon your loved ones. Arrange for a convenient date, time and place and ensure all family members whom you want involved in the conversation know what is going to be being discussed. This is an emotional topic and it’s best to give everyone a heads up about the tough topics that will be covered during the meeting so that they are all in the right mindset for the discussion.

Have a Neutral Meeting Location

If you have family members who don’t always see eye to eye, try to have your estate planning conversation in neutral territory.  This can help ease any anxieties or worries your loved ones may have as you work side-by-side through this emotional conversation.
Our law center at the Lake of the Ozarks has facilitated many family discussions and this can be a great meeting location for you, as well.

Gather Your Thoughts

It’s important to have an idea or list of the many end-of-life topics that you would like to cover in this meeting, such as whether you want extraordinary measures in the event that life support becomes necessary, whether you wish to be an organ donor, who you wish to designate as a guardian for your minor child, and who you intend to receive your grandmother’s grand piano that has been in the family for generations. Having a pre-planned agenda can help remove the stress of what could be an emotionally-packed meeting. 

Here at O’Donnell Law Center, we’ve helped guide a number of clients through the process of sharing their end of life decisions with their loved ones, and the process usually begins with establishing an estate plan at the Lake of the Ozarks. We understand this can be a difficult time but we also know how much relief and satisfaction our clients feel once they have peace of mind that their family knows,  understands and will honor their end of life wishes.

We Carry Your Burden ~ You Carry On With Life.

Disclaimer: No attorney-client relationship is created by the publication of this blog.

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Phone: (573) 552-0317

O'Donnell Law Center, LLC
1026 Palisades Blvd. Suite 3
Osage Beach, MO  65065


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