Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Do Doctors Make the Same Dying Mistakes that We Do?

Doctors dyingIt is often thought that physicians avoid that end of life mistake that most of us make—they do not die in the hospital rather in the comfort of their own home with hospice or palliative care. We cannot believe that they would make the same mistakes we do by spending depressed energy levels on futile high tech medicine. However, they often do. Really the only difference is that they might use hospice care for longer than regular folks. Generally, though, their experience is much like ours at the end of our lifetimes.

See Howard Gleckman, Doctors Die Like the Rest of Us, Forbes, July 20, 2016.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.

July 26, 2016 in Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Death Doulas Making Dying Easier

Death doulasA death doula primarily works to be a presence at the end of life, easing the passage from living to dying. Their job is to assist and accompany those who are facing death and make this last chapter less scary. Death doulas are emerging as the baby boomers grow closer to this stage and as the recognition grows, presenting how the spirit needs to be attended to just like the body. These doulas job consists of helping with strategies to relieve burdened family members, organizing legacy projects that capture the patient’s life, assisting at the moment of death, and helping loved ones process grief.

See Ellen McCarthy, Dying Is Hard. Death Doulas Want to Help Make it Easier., Washington Post, July 22, 2016.

Special thanks to Lewis Saret (Attorney, Washington, D.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.  

July 24, 2016 in Death Event Planning, Elder Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 22, 2016

Providing Funeral Instructions in Your Estate Plan

Funeral planningAn easy way to reduce the stress on your loved ones at your passing is to provide funeral instructions. These instructions may include the treatment of your remains (cremation or burial), treatment of your organs, type of memorial service, and grave marker. Oftentimes, your will is not read until after the funeral, so putting these instructions there would not be helpful. Instead, you should give these instructions to your estate executor and make other family members aware of your wishes. Also, it is best to have a funding plan in place to help with any funeral expenses; you would not want loved ones being strapped with this burden as well.

See Ettinger Law Firm, Back to Basics: Funeral Instructions as Part of Your Estate Plan, New York Estate Planning Attorney Blog, July 10, 2016.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.

July 22, 2016 in Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Scotland's Oldest Organ Donor

Organ donorA 107-year-old woman donated her corneas to a younger patient, making her Scotland’s oldest organ donor. This comes on the trail of a campaign aimed to dispel myths about organ donation. One myth is that old age is a barrier to donation; however, the organ most needed, the kidney, has been transplanted from donors in their 80s. In the United States alone, more than 120,000 people are awaiting a transplant while this campaign works to teach people all around the world about organ donations.

See Caroline Wilson, 107-Year-Old Becomes Scotland’s Oldest Organ Donor, msn.com, July 5, 2016.

July 6, 2016 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Talking to Your Aging Parents About Their Needs

Aging parents2Today, children are willing to help with the financial future of their aging parents, but oftentimes, they do not know what responsibilities they should assume. Any miscommunication in this process can create emotional and financial problems in the future. Aging parents should make sure that they communicate the various aspects of aging effectively with their children, including who will be their caregiver when assistance is needed, who will maintain financial records, and who will be the executor of their estate. If there is miscommunication, it can lead to unfulfilled goals at this crucial time in life. These conversations should happen before retirement age, so that the family feels secure about the upcoming life stages.

See Kerri Anne Renzulli, Here’s What Your Aging Parents Say They Want You to Do for Them, Money Magazine – TIME, June 28, 2016.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.

July 5, 2016 in Death Event Planning, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 2, 2016

German Man Posthumously Bans Relatives from His Funeral

ObituaryHubert Martini, a German man, had his obituary published in a German-based newspaper and posthumously banned his relatives from attending his funeral. After describing himself as unforgiving, he forbid his five sibling and their families from showing up to his memorial service. Speculation evidences that there was a rocky past amongst the family, and Martini was settling scores.

See Last Slights: Man Writes Own Obituary Banning Relatives from Funeral, Guardian, July 1, 2016.

July 2, 2016 in Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 1, 2016

New Mexico Supreme Court Rules Against Aid in Dying Law

Aid in dyingThe New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that there is no fundamental right for a terminally ill patient to seek assistance from a physician in ending their life. As this aid in dying trend is making its way across the United States, New Mexico resisted and upheld their Assisted Suicide Act. One Justice overseeing the case indicated that it would be hard to determine the qualifications for terminally ill patients or what constitutes a safe medical practice or medication. Some supporters of the decision also warn of coercion and abuse that could slip its way into the passage of an aid in dying law.

See Scott Sandlin, New Mexico Assisted Suicide Law Affirmed, Albuquerque Journal, June 30, 2016.

July 1, 2016 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, New Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Talking About Death Can Make Your Future Easier

Talking about deathNo one wants to talk about the inevitable, but talking about death before it nears could make things a lot easier on both parents and children. With the improved economy, a survey reveals that children are pushing off this uncomfortable topic and waiting till after their parent’s retire or become ill. The survey also reported little discussion about wills and estate planning with more than 27% of children being unaware that they were the executor of their parent’s estate. It is important to talk about these issues before something unforeseen happens because it can become difficult to make critical decisions in the midst of a crisis.

See Everybody Dies. It’s Time to Have the Talk, Financial Advisor, June 28, 2016.

Special thanks to Joel Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.

June 30, 2016 in Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 25, 2016

A Daughter-in-Law's Perspective on Her Dying Mother-in-Law

EllenWith looming imminent kidney failure, Ellen does not expect to live much longer, but she is as active in her death as she was throughout her life. She does not want to subject herself to life-sustaining treatments and makes this clear to those that are managing her care.

Her daughter-in-law writes the Article from her perspective, and eventually lets the reader know that she does not agree with the death plan her mother-in-law has put into place. It is hard to comprehend someone’s reasoning when you want them to stick around for many more of life’s events. She soon realizes, however, to help Ellen reach her goal of a peaceful end is what matters most.

See Cindy Schweich Handler, I Didn’t Like It, but This Was the Death She Chose, Washington Post, June 20, 2016.

Special thanks to Naomi Cahn (Harold H. Greene Professor of Law, George Washington University School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.

June 25, 2016 in Death Event Planning | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Aid-in-Dying Facility Opens in Berkeley

End of life practiceBerkeley physician Lonny Shavelson has opened a medical facility specializing in aid-in-dying care for terminally ill patients that fall under the End of Life Option Act. With great opposition, Shavelson is hoping to open communication with terminally patients and normalize the practice while other doctors get comfortable with the idea. As more and more doctors accept the practice, Shavelson anticipates that his practice will no longer be in demand—a hope he welcomes.

See Karim Doumar, Berkeley Physician Opens End-of-Life Practice in City, Daily Californian, June 13, 2016.

Special thanks to Joel Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.

June 14, 2016 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, New Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)