The recent case of Marlise Munoz has caused a lot of people to start questioning their own desires about health care in the face of incapacity planning, and have even prompted them to discuss the difficult question of death and dying. Regardless of your religious beliefs, personal background, or spiritual point of view, almost everyone has a difficult time discussing the question of death. Estate planning attorneys deal with the legal realities of the aging and dying process every day, but for the average person, beginning this conversation with your loved ones can be a daunting challenge.
Discussing the End- of Life
The Marlise Munoz case, and others like it, are often beneficial because they allow us to consider questions that we all have, yet rarely talk about. What do you want to happen to you if you have a terminal illness? What kind of care do you want your doctors to give you if you should fall unconscious and have little or no chance of recovering? Do you want a family member to be there to tell your doctors exactly what your medical wishes are?
All of these questions are important, yet having a conversation about them with your closest family members and loved ones is something few of us look forward to doing.
This is why cases like Marlise Munoz can be of such a great help. Discussing well-known news events that hit on important end-of-life questions can naturally lead to conversations about our own desires, thoughts, and concerns. If you are having difficulty bringing up the conversation with those you love, consider using stories like Marlise Munoz as a way to introduce the topic in a more approachable manner.
Having a Conversation About Death
Do you know if you want to be buried or cremated? Do you know what you want to happen to your remains? Have you decided on how to leave inheritances? All of these questions are a part of estate planning, and all of them involve the question of death. If incapacity is difficult to talk about, death itself can be even more daunting. Not only are we often afraid to confront our own mortality, but talking about the death of someone close to us can be even more intimidating.
If you haven’t made an estate plan and confronted the important questions of death and dying, you might consider speaking to an estate planning attorney. By talking to a professional who deals with these issues every day, and someone who has a legal obligation to maintain your discussions in confidence, you might feel freer to approach these difficult issues. Once you discuss them with your attorney, you might then feel confident enough to bring them up with your family.