Difficult conversations: Discussing end-of-life wishes with loved ones

by | May 7, 2024 | Blog Posts

end of life wishes

Conversations about death and dying are often among the most uncomfortable to broach. So this Dying Matters Awareness Week, the theme is “the way we talk about Dying Matters”. It’s about highlighting the importance of having these discussions with your family, loved ones and carers. Planning for your end-of-life care and arrangements for what happens after your death not only ensures your wishes are honoured but also provides invaluable peace of mind for both you and your loved ones.

Planning – Lasting Powers of Attorney

One of the most powerful tools in this planning process is the Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). An LPA allows you to appoint someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf should you become unable to do so due to mental or physical incapacity. There are two types: Health and Welfare LPA and Property and Financial Affairs LPA.

Having LPAs in place ensures that someone you trust (your attorney) will make decisions for you when you are not able to. Without an LPA, decisions about your welfare and finances could be made by medical professionals and / or the Court of Protection, potentially causing stress and uncertainty for your loved ones.

Planning – Wills and Letters of wishes

Equally important is planning for what should happen after your death.

We recommend that all adults make a will. By doing this, you decide in advance what should happen to your estate (possessions, property, money etc). You can decide who will inherit what, and, for example, what should happen to any children if you and your partner die. Keep your will up to date, and review it every five years or so.

Discussions with your loved ones

Drafting a will and LPAs are just part of the equation, however. Discussing your wishes openly and honestly with your family members is vital. In particular, your chosen attorney and your executors under your will. These conversations can be challenging, but they’re essential for ensuring everyone understands your preferences and can advocate for them if necessary.

When discussing your end-of-life wishes with your family and friends, you might want to consider topics such as:

Medical treatment preferences:

Outline your preferences regarding life-sustaining treatment, resuscitation, and other medical interventions. Be clear about what matters most to you in terms of quality of life and dignity.

Care preferences:

Discuss where you would like to receive care in the event of illness or incapacity, whether at home, in a hospice, or elsewhere. Consider your preferences for palliative care and pain management.

Funeral and burial wishes:

Share your preferences for your funeral or memorial service, including any religious or cultural traditions you’d like to be respected. Discuss burial or cremation preferences and any specific requests you have for your final resting place.

Financial matters:

Be transparent about your financial situation and the contents of your will.

This Dying Matters Awareness Week, let’s commit to breaking the silence surrounding death and dying and embracing these conversations with openness and compassion. By planning ahead and communicating effectively with our loved ones, you can ensure that your final wishes are honoured, your legacy is preserved, and your loved ones are supported through life’s most challenging transitions.

Our team can help you formalise your end of life wishes, and advise you on the documents that might benefit you. Call us on 0800 988 7756 or make an appointment online.

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