Have Those Difficult Conversations Now: What Are Your (or Your Loved One’s) Wishes?

Note: This is the third in a series of blog posts on the difficult conversations we all need to have with our loved ones. 

In the first post in this series, I recommended starting your difficult conversations with your loved ones with the basic question of “What legal documents do you have in place?” The second post reviewed how important it is to know who is doing what if you (or your loved one) pass away or become incapacitated.

The next part of the conversations should revolve around reviewing what your (or your loved one’s) wishes are in the event of death or incapacity. There are several questions to either ask or answer here:

  1. What are long-term care preferences? Is a facility or home care preferred? If a facility is preferred, what amenities, location, et cetera is preferred. If in home care is preferred, at what point should care be transitioned to a facility?
  2. What are medical preferences and wishes? What type of medical care is wanted after a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, et cetera? What are wishes about life support or other end-of-life decisions? I speak to clients all the time about these tough choices and most people have VERY specific wishes.
  3. What are the funeral or burial wishes? Again, many people have quite specific wishes here and their loved ones should know what those are.

The above three topics can lead in several directions. The most important thing is to have a discussion about all of the “what ifs” and make sure that everyone involved knows what things are important to you (or your loved ones).

It is very difficult to honour someone’s wishes if you don’t know what they are. It also can be a challenge to make difficult decisions without knowing what the deceased or incapacitated person wanted. Lastly, a frank discussion with members of your family about what you want and who is to make the decisions for you can be helpful in preventing family disagreements when difficult decisions need to be made. Although you still need to ensure your legal documents reflect your wishes, having the difficult conversation is essential.

Stay tuned for the final article in this difficult conversations series, but don’t wait for it – get started talking about these issues with your loved ones today!

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Michele R.J. Allinotte is the owner of Allinotte Law Office in Cornwall, Ontario and she helps her clients make the best decisions for themselves, their families and their businesses. Her practice focuses on the areas of business law, estates and estate planning and real estate. Visit www.YourCornwallLawyer.com to get her FREE Peace of Mind Personal Inventory to make sure that your family has all the information they need.

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