Using the Power of Stories With Clients’ Advance Care Planning

Posted on 02/22/2013

American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys: While it may not be appropriate to reveal to clients what sort of estate planning vehicles and decisions your own parents or grandparents made and what happened when they died, you can probably share what happened when they were hospitalized, whether their medical wishes were followed, and whether they were even known.

For some examples of how you might succinctly tell your own story about the death of a loved one, see The Conversation Project. It contains the stories of a number of leaders in medicine, clergy, and the media who came together to share their own stories about the deaths of their own loved ones. Founded by former syndicated columnist Ellen Goodman, this initiative helps people create a comfortable, safe way to talk about their goals for living with and dying from advancing illness

The Conversation Project also has great suggestions on how clients can start their own conversation with loved ones about their health care wishes and how to guide it. Tell them to read the “opening lines” suggestions from The Conversation Project. Tell them to use its guides for when and where they might like to have this conversation. Tell them they have to do it. Sooner or later, their adult children will thank you.

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