What is an Ethical Will? In days of yore, people prepared a Last Will and Testament. The Will addressed the distribution of property and assets of the deceased. The Ethical Will was the Testament portion of this important end-of-life planning document. An Ethical Will enables us to speak words of truth before the end of our days on earth. We can share what life lessons we’ve learned in this lifetime. We can pass along our values and wisdom to our loved ones and to the world. Here’s a … [Read more...] about How You Can Write an Ethical Will
Planning a funeral right after a family member dies is probably the last thing you want to do. But by putting some plans and information on file with a funeral home, you can make it so much easier on your surviving loved ones. While conducting research before writing A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die, my husband and I met with a funeral home to preplan for my father-in-law, Norman. Norm had undergone three open-heart surgeries during his lifetime. After the … [Read more...] about Why Should You Plan Your Own Funeral?
Estate planning attorneys recognize that most people are not eager to discuss end-of-life issues. The remarkable worldwide rise of death discussion movements over the past decade can help get the conversation started. Here’s an overview of the most popular movements, in order of when they were started in the United Kingdom or the United States. Dying Matters 2009 In 2009, the National Council for Palliative Care (NCPC) set up the Dying Matters Coalition to promote public awareness of … [Read more...] about A Short History of Death Discussion Movements
Just like the cobbler’s children go without shoes, too many estate planning attorneys don’t follow their own advice to clients. I’ve heard way too many stories of attorneys who drop dead without having a valid will in place, or their paperwork is way out of date. Are you in that group? In 2017, my husband and I updated our wills. We first drew up our wills when we got married in 2000. When our executor moved out of state, we knew it was time to name someone else. Waiting 17 years is much … [Read more...] about It Won’t Kill You to Make Your Funeral and Estate Plans
When less than 25% of adults do any end-of-life planning, including wills and trusts, advance medical directives and pre-need funeral planning, how can estate planning attorneys help increase the percentage of those who plan ahead? People want to know about estate planning issues. However, just as many loathe to visit a funeral home to plan ahead, many hesitate to visit an estate planning attorney. Here are three outside-the-box ideas to help break down resistance to discussing these serious … [Read more...] about Three Event Ideas to Help Families Discuss Death and Estate Planning
We live in an era when sadness is avoided at great cost to our emotional psyches. Funerals are now celebrations of life. Even though death and loss breaks hearts, many people strive to stay positive and upbeat. “Must not cry” is the unconscious mantra of many grievers – and it’s harmful. In “The Gift and Power of Emotional Courage,” a TEDWomen 2017 talk by psychologist Susan David, she explains why it’s good to embrace so-called “negative” feelings, saying: “In a survey I recently conducted … [Read more...] about Can You Actually Benefit from Experiencing Sadness?
Dozens of books about death, end-of-life, estate planning, and related topics were published in 2017. Estate planning attorneys may find these selected titles (listed in alphabetical order) to be helpful additions to your library. They can provide helpful guidance for your clients’ families as well as your own. (Click on the titles to access each book from Amazon.) Dealing with Doctors, Denial, and Death: A Guide to Living Well with Serious Illness by Aroop Mangalik, MD (Rowman & … [Read more...] about Seven Books on End-of-Life Issues from 2017
To stand out from their competition and stay in business, funeral homes need to engage the growing number of people choosing cremation over burial. Exhibitors at the 2017 National Funeral Directors Association convention and expo in Boston indicate change is in the wind. These three first-time exhibitors illustrate some of the personalization trends in the funeral industry. Beloved Petra Orloff, a professional writer for more than 25 years, turned her professional skills toward obituary … [Read more...] about Unique New Funeral Products Reflect New Industry Trends
Estate planning attorneys know how to guide clients so the goals for their money and assets actualize. But what does the general public know about estate planning, and what kind of questions do they ask? In “What You Need To Know Before You Go: Financial/Legal Issues,” expert advisors discuss end-of-life issues related to estate planning, financial planning, and aging-in-place. The panel discussion was one event in the inaugural Before I Die ABQ Festival. Over six days, 600 attendees … [Read more...] about Questions People Ask About Estate and Financial Planning
It’s September, the time for the Jewish High Holidays of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. These holidays call up mortality issues as congregants ponder the meaning of life and the fleeting nature of our time on earth as the days grow shorter. On Yom Kippur, Jews participate in a special memorial service called Yizkor, held specifically to remember deceased loved ones. Yizkor is the Hebrew word for remembrance. Many non-observant Jews don’t know the … [Read more...] about Knowing Jewish Funeral Traditions Can Help Your Practice
Even though humans have a 100% mortality rate, less than 30% of us make any end-of-life plans. What will get adults to discuss and plan for their eventual demise? How about putting some "fun" in funeral planning to get people to discuss this serious topic? Before I Die festivals are part of a growing social movement to foster reflection about how we as individuals and as a society manage death and dying. By providing space and opportunities to openly discuss end-of-life issues, we can improve … [Read more...] about Estate Planning Attorneys: Creative Ways to Community Connections
You don’t need to be an award-winning writer to create an appropriate sympathy card or note of condolence. It’s not hard to add a few short sentences to customize a store-bought sympathy card to help lift the spirits of the mourners. Make it easy on yourself by using journalism’s “Five Ws” to guide your way: Who, What, When, Where, and Why (slightly re-arranged). Younger generations, those more comfortable with texting than actually writing, can especially benefit from these tips. What: … [Read more...] about Tips for Writing a Condolence Card or Note