The New York Times has recently run a series of op-ed pieces dealing with end of life discussions that many of the authors navigate through their personal experiences and what they would have done differently for loved-ones in terms of planning for death and health decisions prior to death. In a particularly moving piece, Ellen Goodman writes that her and her mother shared conversations about everything in life, but as her mother's health slowly deteriorated, they never had a conversation about how her mother wished to live in her final years and what decisions she would make for herself. This led to Goodman having to make crucial medical decisions on her mother's behalf that caused uncertainty for Goodman as to how her mother would have decided which created a feeling that Goodman may not have been respecting her mother's true wishes. Goodman cites to a variety of reasons why people do not have these discussions, including that many feel it is "too soon" to have the conversation or feel uncomfortable talking about the issue with loved ones. Goodman points out that one of the best ways to honor and preserve the memory and dignity of a person is to attempt to follow their wishes as much as possible when they can no longer make decisions for themselves. The best way to ensure that your loved one's wishes are followed in terms of medical care, funeral arrangements and disposition of property upon death is to meet with a professional with experience in estate planning. If you have more questions about these matters, you should not hesitate to schedule a consultation with our firm.