What are your final wishes? Have you had this discussion with your family? Do they know what you want? Is it in writing?
Everyone has different ideas of a “good death” or “the perfect death” as it appears to them in their own mind. Maybe you shouldn’t keep your wishes secret. Maybe you should sign the right documents and inform the right friends and family members so that others know what you want.
My first experience with a client who discussed “the perfect death” was several years ago. My client’s name was Jim, and he was 93 years old. He came to see me three times, and he always wore the same snazzy, lime green leisure suit with the pale yellow shirt underneath the jacket. He was always well groomed and smiling.
He told me about one of his good friends, Bob, who had recently died the perfect death. I was curious, so he explained it to me. They lived in an assisted living facility where they had been for several years, and everyone there was very friendly. After dinner, Bob had been hanging around with Jim and other friends in one of the public rooms just talking and laughing. In the morning, Bob got up and shaved himself and dressed himself and got ready to go downstairs for coffee and breakfast. He got into the elevator and rode down to the ground floor where he took three steps out of the elevator and then dropped dead right there.
Jim delighted in the story because Bob was in his 90s, he had experienced a wonderful life, he lived where he was surrounded by friends, and then he dropped dead without ever suffering and without ever experiencing a single day when he was not able to care for himself. To Jim, the whole thing was absolutely magical. He loved telling me the story, and he hoped for a similar ending to his own life. Jim was hopeful that he could die the same way.
The burning question is what will happen to you or a loved one . . . whether it’s a child, parent, or spouse? If they don’t end up with “the perfect death,” are the proper documents in place to allow their trusted individuals to make the right decisions?
One Morgan Hill client had a hard time because her husband was only in his mid to late 50s when he developed severe Alzheimer’s. With the advancing illness, he no longer trusted his one and only wife of many decades, and he was unwilling to sign any legal documents. What could she do to protect him and herself and the children? How could they protect their home?
We never know what our future brings for us.
I had a 99 year old client who was mentally and physically strong and driving his car daily when he finally decided it was time to prepare his trust. Good for him. He made it that far without a problem. And another Morgan Hill woman at the age of 104 years still had an iron grip when she shook my hand, but she knew that her legal documents were outdated and she needed to make several changes to protect her family in the event she finally died or perhaps needed nursing home care before her death.
The people who plan before there is a need are the ones who are able to direct others to follow their own wishes, and they’re also the ones who can better protect their homes and other assets for their family members. But we never know our future. That’s why we need an established plan that will protect us and our loved ones.
Think about what you want for yourself. Make sure that you have the right documents signed and in place so that others can follow your wishes.