“Mostly it is loss which teaches us about the worth of things.”
- Arthur Schopenhauer
Death is not a subject we are taught to think about. Attached to the topic are volumes of ideas we cannot fully express and questions we cannot fully answer. It is a fact death comes to us all and knowing when that time approaches is a gift. This gift allows us to prepare ourselves and our loved ones for the next step.
If you are terminally ill, there are a few things you can do to ease the pain of loss that will be felt by friends and family who love you. Although the time and manner of your passing may not be fully under your control, you can, to a large degree, influence how your loss is experienced and processed, by ensuring that you have consulted with an estate lawyer or business planning attorney, to ensure your affairs are in order. This article will give you some support and emotional relief in your final days and offer a few ways for you to face that threshold without regret or fear of what you may leave behind.
Confirm Your Diagnosis
Firstly, it will help to clarify things for you to get a second opinion on your condition. You should also ensure you and your family and caregivers are fully aware of what to expect in the days and months to come. This will help you create a timeline of expected tasks for you and your estate attorney to complete within the given timeframe.
It will help you and those around you to feel in control of events relating to your passing if there is no doubt about what is to come. The worst thing you can do is to receive a false diagnosis and sit around for years waiting to die while your life sifts away in front of you. This can only lead to an unproductive and disorganized life in “limbo” which is not good for you, your family or your friends.
Plan Your Estate
Along with the confirmation of diagnosis is the need to take stock of what you have and what needs to be done. You will need to involve your loved ones, named beneficiaries, your executor, and business planning attorney. It is best to discuss your plans with these stakeholders to ensure they are on the same page as you and are willing and able to carry out your intentions once called upon to do so.
This is an article which explains in depth what kinds of mistakes can cause a will to become invalid. It is always best to get good, solid, professional advice from a qualified legal practitioner to avoid these common errors.
Planning an estate is not simply about deciding who gets the house in the Hamptons and who gets the silverware. There are a lot of hidden aspects to winding up an estate, like the online presence in social media, gaming, banking and educational platforms which all require passwords and will all need to be closed off.
You should also give careful consideration to who you choose as your executor. This person should have no ethical conflicts and should be strong enough and honest enough to carry out your instructions as per your will.
Get Into Therapy Early
Knowing your days are numbered is part of the human condition but it becomes more real when it is closer. Everyone has a different way of dealing with this and no-one knows what they will do until they are actually placed in those circumstances. That is why you and your family should consider seeing a therapist to guide you through the emotional process of loss.
An experienced, qualified therapist can give you and your family the tools to deal with their impending loss in a dignified and compassionate way. This does not mean there is a magic wand to wave which makes the pain disappear but a therapist can help you and your family to think about this loss in a way that does not destroy your family bonds. The result you should all be aiming for is to experience your passing with compassion for each other, to support each other in the grieving process, and to grow stronger as a family. This is the best case scenario for you to create: to leave your family with coping skills to survive and keep living productive lives once you are gone.
Spend Time With Loved Ones
You might be tempted to bury yourself in your work, avoiding those potential moments of human contact which remind you time is short but this is a mistake.
When you make time to spend with your loved ones, you are telling them you care for them. Since time is a limited commodity in your case, setting aside some of it to be with certain individuals whom you love says more than any bequest of money. The money will always be there but you will not. So leave the majority of the paperwork involved in planning your estate to your estate attorney and instead take your aunt out to tea, visit your son and his family, or take your grandchildren out to a game. These are moments which will live on in their memories of you, so make them count.
Say What Needs To Be Said
Whether you write a stack of letters to be handed out by your probate attorney after you are gone or whether you take each person aside and tell them your thoughts, you should say what needs to be said. It is an unhealthy mental and emotional burden to drag a bagful of regrets with you to the end and it is unnecessary.
Although we have been taught to shy away from expressing our feelings to each other because it makes us vulnerable, it is also a mark of true bravery and fortitude of character to be able to do this. Try to make your words calm, direct, and sincere but also compassionate. Remember you are leaving behind a group of individuals who care for you and will miss you. Whatever instances of disagreement or conflict you may have had with your loved ones, try to clear the air with them. You will then be able to move on with a clean slate and a clear conscience.
Know your rights
In Nevada, there is no law against directives to withhold life-sustaining treatment but euthanasia is not condoned. This means you can have an advance directive drawn up by an estate attorney in Nevada to prevent medical teams from using medical treatment to keep you alive but you may not ask a doctor or anyone else to help you end your life.
Your rights should be respected by your medical team but if you are not able to speak for yourself, you must nominate someone to speak for you as your health care proxy. This should be someone whom you trust to carry out your wishes. Your attorney must draw up this nomination legally and you must sign it so it is best to think about these aspects and set them in motion before you are unable to complete the task.
Another important step you must take is to nominate a financial proxy who has power of attorney over your financial and business affairs. This should not be the same person as your health care proxy to avoid inviting any speculation from anyone about the motivation behind any decision they might make on your behalf.
If you have a qualified and experienced estate attorney with a good track record, who knows how to navigate this process, then you should consult with him or her about who to choose for the responsibility of being your health care or financial proxy. There are a number of factors which you should consider, which are dealt with in more depth in this article.
At the end of it all, you will be able to pass on peacefully, in the knowledge you have prepared yourself and your loved ones for what is to come, and that, though they may grieve for you, they will survive the loss. You can help to leave behind a group of loved ones who are better prepared to face your absence and who can move past the pain to thrive in their own time and space. This is a final piece of your legacy completing a well-lived life.