Importance of Pre-Planning and End-of-Life Discussions with Family
Conversations about death are never easy – and conversations about your own death are even more complicated. Not only are there financial issues to bring up (a tricky subject in many families), but there is no way to talk about your end-of-life plans without emotions getting in the way.
Like most things worth doing, however, the benefits of these discussions far outweigh any discomforts. Take care of those you love by being upfront, honest, and clear about your wishes…and enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing your plans are in order long before they are needed.
The Price of Silence
Families who do not talk about funeral and end-of-life plans almost always end up in some kind of argument about how best to proceed. Because we are talking about some of the most difficult and emotional decisions they will ever be asked to make, even the tightest families end up arguing over the details: whether or not to implement a DNR plan, how long to keep Mom and Dad in a nursing home, whether cremation or burial is best. Understandably, these arguments can lead to rifts in your loved ones’ relationships and add burdens to an already trying time.
It can also end up costing your family more money. When decisions are stalled or drawn out for a lengthy amount of time (especially if you have lawyers or doctors involved), end-of-life care and funeral plans quickly escalate in price.
This is especially true for funerals. Most families would rather err on the side of caution than skimp on details, which means that your silence on the subject could mean they will provide a much more elaborate funeral than you had in mind, dipping into their own pockets to make it happen.
Start Talking, Start Planning
Money is not the only motivating factor. While you can save on funeral costs by being honest, you can also change the way your family approaches the inevitable – and repair your current relationships in the process.
Some of the benefits of having these conversations in advance include:
- Clarifying any wishes/values that are important to you
- Ensuring your life is not unnecessarily prolonged
- Enjoying higher quality of life, rather than quantity of life
- Starting a dialogue with family members about your current and past relationships
- Making financial arrangements that won’t come as a surprise to those you love
- Empowering your loved ones to participate in your end-of-life care
- Fairly distributing costs/burdens of funeral planning
- Eliminating future legal issues and battles
- Bringing loved ones together for what is really important
If you are like most families, it is that last benefit that really stands out. Death has a way of forcing people to evaluate what really matters in their lives; we have all been to the funerals where loved ones separated by time and distance finally meet again, where huge rifts are healed in the name of mourning and loss.
There is no reason why that can’t take place ahead of time. Don’t wait for death to force your loved ones together. By taking steps to have these conversations now, you can not only save money and plan ahead, but you can make your family evaluate their relationships while you are still here to enjoy them.