Importance of Advance Directives

Personal Finance March 22, 2008 Print Friendly and PDF

"As difficult and challenging as this conversation is—and it clearly is—it pales in comparison with the pain and the suffering that not having it puts people through." - Tom, manager of chaplaincy services

When end-of-life decisions are made and communicated long before there's a need to put them into effect, family members can be confident that they know each other's wishes. They can have time to grow comfortable with decisions that may have been difficult at first to understand and accept. As the end nears, they can spare themselves the unnecessary grief that not knowing what to do inevitably brings. And their loved one's passing can be a time of tenderness and clarity, rather than confusion or strife.

Read on, or click on the video buttons below for discussion strategies.

Without advance directives, contention and debates are likely
Mamie, college social work professor

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Mamie -- Without advance directives, contention and debates are likely


Mamie, college social work professor
Mamie, college social work professor

Transcript: "So often people are not thinking it's important, and then if people do not do it then when they reach a point where they can't do it then you see a lot of contention going on and debates going on among family members and other people that really don't agree or sometimes do agree, and it becomes more difficult to accomplish what needs to be done for the person who can't do it for themselves."


I wish I knew what my husband wants
Mari, community development specialist

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Mari -- I wish I knew what my husband wants


Mari, community development specialist
Mari, community development specialist

Transcript: "I worry about him that he doesn't have anything. I don't know what I would do if I were put into a situation because I really don't know what it is that he wants. You think you know somebody but he may have a completely different idea of what he wants done in that situation, and so he hasn't shared that with me."



It should be my decision, not someone else's
Tom, manager of chaplaincy services

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Tom -- It should be my decision, not someone else's


Tom, manager of chaplaincy services
Tom, manager of chaplaincy services

Transcript: "I feel strongly, sort of passionately, about this. I think that when we're talking about end-of-life decisions, which would give us decisions or directives in advance, the most important event in our life-- I don't want to turn over the decision to buy a car or buy a house to someone else, and those are minor decisions in comparison to this. I think it's essential. And because it's unavoidable, because death is unavoidable, the only option that we have in not making the decision is having somebody else make it for us."






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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.