Are Your Last Wishes Clear?

It is not always an easy conversation to have but make sure that your loved ones understand what you want when your time draws close is extremely important. Clarity and awareness of these wishes are of the utmost importance before you meet with your estate planning attorney.  

I grasp that for most people, this is not an easy topic to discuss, but I’m not a mind reader and it’s important that I know exactly what you want when I prepare for your future. Once clients and I talk about their last wishes, I always seem to stump them with the following question, “do your family or friends know what you want to happen to you and your finances if you’re incapacitated or deceased, and are your wishes clear and understandable?” 

After a long pause, I generally get, “I’m not sure.” 

This is okay, it happens to everyone,
and you are not alone. 

On a personal note, I can recount the experience my friend’s family had in trying to deal with their grandfather’s illness and their attempts to interpret his wishes about the end of his life. This experience made me realize that having a living will isn’t enough — we need to be sure that we have clear and specific instructions, and that we have considered a variety of scenarios as we try to instruct our loved ones to make decisions for us in a medical crisis.

Here are some tips that might make this conversation a bit easier:

1. Phrases like “terminal illness” are vague at a time when new treatments and drugs can keep patients with a terminal disease alive for months or years. Make sure that you are more specific when discussing with your family.

2. Today, a basic estate plan, generally, includes a Living Will or Advanced Directive. However, these documents are sometimes filled with vague statements about death being a natural part of life, and “heroic measures”, which can make it difficult for your family to interpret in their time of grief. Again, specificity is important. Being vague and dancing around the issue might solve some awkward conversations now, but that ambiguous language could lead to some devastating actions in the future.

3. Spread out the conversation. Even after creating a Living Will or Life Support Statement,  I always advise my clients to verbally communicate to their loved ones about the different types of situations that can arise and what they might want to be done in those cases. These conversations can be heavy and sad discussions. Chop them up so that they do not need to be a big, formal, one-time thing. If something is in the news about end-of-life care, or if a friend or relative is going through something similar, find a way to discuss your final wishes in that greater context. It can be easier for your family to remember this way, “Oh, I remember when Aunt Mary was in the final stages of breast cancer, mom said she wouldn’t want another surgery.” 

4. Learn more. In addition to your end-of-life care, your wishes for your end-of-life celebration, aka funeral, are also important. There are many free booklets online that help you document these wishes. One in particular that has been helpful to some of my clients can be found at This website outlines practical advice on how your remains should be treated and how your end-of-life ceremony should be conducted. 

For more information regarding the preparation of a Living Will or Advanced Directives, please contact the Law Office of Jason R. Ebacher at (978) 269-4485, or look us up online at as we can provide invaluable advice with planning for you and your loved ones. 

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Paulette Doucette
Paulette Doucette
17:09 19 Nov 22
Jason was not only helpful and thorough in assisting us in putting our Estate Plan together but was extremely sensitive to our overall wishes and desires concerning its implementation.
Shirlz Jenner
Shirlz Jenner
22:34 11 Nov 22
We highly recommend Jason Ebacher for Estate Planning. He made the process for us quite smooth and explained it to us in layman's terms.
Stephanie A. Crayton
Stephanie A. Crayton
19:17 29 Sep 22
Due to some recent family losses, I began to think about my own situation and end of life decisions/wishes – something I had been putting off for years. As a single mother of a minor child, I realize how incredibly important it is for me to put some safeguards in place for my son and for myself.I reached out to the Law Office of Jason Ebacher and I could not be any more pleased with his guidance, compassion, and professionalism. I came to him with very little knowledge of what is needed, the process, and best decisions. Thankfully, he took his time, explained things to me in various ways that gave me a chance to arrive at my own decision. Once all the decisions were made, he legally implemented them into my estate plans.I can’t thank him enough for all of the assistance, time, and knowledge he has shared with me. I highly recommend him and will seek his counsel again, should it be necessary! Thank you Jason and team!
betsy malenfant
betsy malenfant
23:58 25 Apr 22
I have had the pleasure of the professionalism and kindness of Jason's help over the past few years. I have referred him to family members who have also felt so comfortable in his presence in regard to his knowledge and his comforting manner. Thank you, Jason!
Leslie Russell
Leslie Russell
00:41 09 Aug 21
I can not thank Jason enough for his help. His work has given me peace of mind during a time where caring for a loved one is not easy. I really appreciate his temperament and legal ease.
Karen Shuman
Karen Shuman
18:26 06 Aug 21
My experience with Attorney Jason R. Ebacher was excellent from the very first phone call. Jason is professional above all else in addition to being friendly, compassionate, helpful and knowledgeable. He provided me with enough information and guidance to enable me to make solid choices with regard to my estate planning. I highly recommend Jason and his team.
Kristen Wilson
Kristen Wilson
15:25 05 Aug 21
Attorney Jason Ebacher is professional, knowledgeable, and kind. He is always readily available to answer any questions. I highly recommend Jason to anyone.
Essential Balance Wellness
Essential Balance Wellness
13:46 05 Aug 21
You dont know what tomorrow will bring. The only way to make sure the people you love are taken care of, is to make a plan....while your healthy and in good sound mind. There TRULY is "peace of mind in proper planning"
Angie Vargas
Angie Vargas
17:53 17 Mar 21
Jason is a trusted volunteer with our non-profit legal aid organization, where he provides quality pro bono estate planning assistance to some of our clients and is always willing to go the extra mile. During the pandemic, he has remain committed to this work and we greatly appreciate him.
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