The Talks The End The Death

3 Things You Need to Talk About Death

Bert Brown
Written by Bert Brown

Key topics to cover as you plan for death – medical preferences, estate plan, and insurance.

Planning for the end-of-life as best possible. 

Sometimes the end comes suddenly or we know our loved ones will likely pass after an extended period of time.  Either way, though sad, planning for this event makes it a little more manageable.

  • What does your loved one want?  Does she want a simple service or cremation? Does she want a big celebration?  The average cost of a funeral is over $10,000 so planning could help make it more affordable. 
  • Good planning begins right now. Consider a low cost life insurance policy to cover the costs of the funeral.
  • Estate planning is essential. If your family has any assets at all, a will simplifies how those assets are divided and could save your family from any unnecessary conflict.  Estate planning usually makes taking care of a loved one’s possessions (property, money, etc.) much easier.  There are MANY professionals in most corners of the country ready to help.

Talk to your family member(s) NOW. 

Though it is frequently an awkward conversation, NOW is the time to discuss!  I used my mother’s passing to have this conversation with my father. I asked him if he’d thought about things like advanced directives and if he had updated his will.  That led to a lengthy discussion about what circumstances he would want to be kept alive on a ventilator to how he wanted his assets divided and what we should do at his funeral.  I then did my best to make sure it was all put into writing so everything he wanted (and didn’t want) was clear and not open for interpretation.  Here are the main topics we discussed:

Advanced Directive/Do Not Resuscitate

What do we do if you have a medical event and need life saving measures like a breathing machine or medication to keep your heart beating?  Who should make medical decisions for you if you are incapacitated?

Assets and Estate Planning

It’s time to discuss what happens to your loved one’s stuff when they’re gone. Plan now and put it all into writing. A will can save your family a lot of grief.

Long Term Care Insurance

Many will have some sort of LTC insurance.  It’s helpful that policy with your loved one so you know what it covers.  Many of these policies have a waiting period that begins when your loved one needs skilled nursing care or a nursing home.  During this period, you must pay for that care out of pocket and then the insurance kicks in.  How will you pay for this?  These are conversations to have sooner than later.

About the author

Bert Brown

Bert Brown

Practicing Anesthesiologist and caregiving son for his mother who passed away from complications associated with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Earned Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Dartmouth College and Medical Degree from Wayne State University. Completed residency at University of Texas Southwestern in Anesthesiology followed by a fellowship in solid organ transplants and cardiac anesthesiology. Owns his anesthesiology private practice and resides in Dallas, Texas with his wife and teenage daughter.

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