Home » Blog » Tips for Discussing Your End-of-Life Wishes With Family
Tips for Discussing Your End-of-Life Wishes With Family - Werner Law Firm

Tips for Discussing Your End-of-Life Wishes With Family

Troy Werner and his family

Written by Troy Werner

Troy Werner has been an indispensable asset to The Werner Law Firm since joining in 2009, providing exceptional legal service to its clients.

Get To Know Troy!
POSTED ON: November 21, 2019

It’s understandably difficult to discuss your end of life wishes with your loved ones. Most of us usually do not earnestly talk about our passing, unless maybe to informally declare our funeral wishes. While most Americans are aware that it’s important to be prepared for one’s passing, both financially and in terms of healthcare, most […]

It’s understandably difficult to discuss your end of life wishes with your loved ones. Most of us usually do not earnestly talk about our passing, unless maybe to informally declare our funeral wishes. While most Americans are aware that it’s important to be prepared for one’s passing, both financially and in terms of healthcare, most haven’t taken the proper measures to prepare.

These measures are sometimes known as advance directives. They help your loved ones and medical professionals have a clearer picture of what kind of medical care you want. It also gives specific individuals the ability to make crucial medical choices for you.

This lack of preparedness has become such a concern that physicians have banded together to advocate for bringing up end of life considerations to patients and their loved ones, in order to encourage patients to consider thinking about having critical conversations with their family about important palliative and advance healthcare questions.

Since 2010, the Conversation Project aims to shed light on the fact that less than a third of patients speak with their family about end of life matters and help prepare them through a ‘starter kit’. We will aim to provide a little starter kit of our own, helping you get the ball rolling on discussing your end of life wishes with your loved ones.

Communication Is Key

First and foremost, this is a conversation you must have with the whole family. Having a plan for your healthcare is important.  There may be a time when you will be unable to make critical healthcare decisions for yourself. Your family needs to know where you stand, what your values and wishes are, should anything happen to you.

It’s clear that there’s no way you can predict exactly what might happen. Unless you have a chronic or terminal condition, your end of life wishes most likely will not be addressing every single potential outcome. However, an important choice to make is the choice of whom to pick as your advocate.

They will act as your emergency contact and the first person to communicate with doctors and coordinate your family. Speak to your family and determine who is best to be your advocate. If you don’t consider anyone in your family ready to take on the job, then consider a professional patient advocate. If no one is specified, doctors (and the healthcare system) will have to turn to those closest to you.

They might not always be the best people to navigate the complex and head-scratching healthcare system we have today. Regardless of whom you choose as your advocate, it’s important for everyone close to you to be aware of your choices. That way should anything happen to you, they know who to talk to, and who to ask for information.

Talk Openly About Your Values and Wishes

We don’t know how our lives will end, but we have certain wishes that we want protected in our absence. Some people do not wish to be revived should they require resuscitation, and others do not want to be on life support or undergo specific treatments. While there are ways to put into writing your end of life care, it is often enough to communicate these wishes to your loved ones.

Consider a Durable Power of Attorney (POA)

Another option to ensure that your will is accurately represented is to make use of a durable power of attorney. A power of attorney is a document that gives individuals limited powers to make financial and/or healthcare decisions in your name. A regular power of attorney typically allows someone to make decisions while you are still capable.

However, should you be incapacitated, such a document would not give that person any power at all. That is where a durable power of attorney enters the picture. This document gives a designated individual  the power to make decisions in your name even while you are incapacitated.

A power of attorney becomes void when you pass away. It can also be nullified by your command, through a revocation form. When drafting (or revoking) a power of attorney, you should hire a lawyer  so the process goes smoothly.

A lawyer can help you further specify the limitations of your agent’s power of attorney. This is particularly important if you decide to create a living will. You can use the power of attorney document to clarify that your agent does not have the power to overwrite your wishes, as per other advance directives.

Living Wills and Their Role in End-of-Life Planning

Living wills are documents that provide more concrete instructions to healthcare providers, should you be rendered incapacitated. You can use a living will to discern certain healthcare measures that you can expect. Such as (but not limited to):

      • Palliative care (the use of powerful painkillers to reduce suffering in a person’s final days).
      • Intravenous nutrition (which can prolong life while incapacitated, and may be unwanted).
      • Specific life-prolonging measures (CPR, respirator, surgeries, etc).

Your life is in your hands, and a living will gives you the power to specify how you want it to end.

The Bottom Line

End of life choices are very difficult to make. However, it’s important to make certain decisions before you find yourself unable to make any at all. A living will requires a more concrete understanding of what you may want, you can also assign a patient advocate.

They can speak to your family about your healthcare wishes, and your personal beliefs and values. Some people want all measures on the table to save their life. Others want to ensure that they can  pass on without these measures.


Share This Post

Why Our Living Trust Law Firm & Probate Attorneys?

Founded in 1975 by L. Rob Werner and serving California for over 48 years, our dedicated attorneys are available for clients, friends, and family members to receive the legal help they need and deserve. You can trust in our experience and reputation to help navigate you through your unique legal matters.

Whether you need help creating a living trust or navigating probate, our living trust law firm's compassionate team of estate planning lawyers and probate lawyers are here to help you and ready to answer your questions.

Our goal is to make your case as easy as possible for you. Hiring a lawyer can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. From the moment you contact our firm, through the final resolution of your case, our goal is to make the process easy and understandable. We cannot change the fact that probate is a long and complicated process, but through our Werner Law Firm Difference, we strive to go out of our way to keep you informed of your case through every step of the way. We are constantly refining our processes and procedures for a more streamlined and calm client experience. Our goal is to have you feel like a burden was lifted from your shoulders, and that we made the whole process an easy one

If you're dealing with a legal matter, we urge you to schedule a free initial appointment today and join the many satisfied clients who have contacted Werner Law Firm.

Book an Initial Call Now

Join Our eNewsletter and our California Estate Planning and Probate Blog Digest

Werner Law Firm logo
The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. See full disclaimer here.
Santa Clarita, CA Office

27433 Tourney Rd, Suite 200
Santa Clarita, California 91355

Los Angeles, CA Office

445 S. Figueroa St., Suite 3100
Los Angeles, California 90071

Bakersfield, CA Office

4900 California Ave, Tower B-210
Bakersfield, California 93309

Newport Beach, CA Office

23 Corporate Plaza Dr., Suite 150
Newport Beach, California 92660

Lancaster, CA Office

626 W Lancaster Blvd.,
Lancaster, California 93534

Pasadena, CA Office

35 North Lake Avenue, Suite 710
Pasadena, California 91101

Simi Valley, CA Office

2655 First St, Suite 250
Simi Valley, CA Office, California 93065

Encino, CA Office

15760 Ventura Blvd, Suite 700
Encino, California 91436

Oxnard, CA Office

300 E Esplanade Dr., 9th Floor
Oxnard, California 93036

Santa Barbara, CA Office

7 W. Figueroa St., Suite 200
Santa Barbara, California 93101

IMS - Estate Planning and Elder Law Practice Growth Advisors
Powered by