A New Year’s Tradition: Continuing the End-of-Life Conversation

January 16, 2024
David Storto Headshot

David Storto

For the past decade, I’ve used the passage of a new year to share my end-of-life plans and wishes with my family. Every January, I send my wife and two adult children a summary of our financial situation and healthcare plans, and I copy our estate planning lawyer, financial planner and accountant. I also let them know where source documents are located and whenever possible send them digitally. In some years updates may be minimal, but when major life events occur like job change, retirement and marriage, updates may be much more significant.

Keeping family members well informed on an ongoing basis about your end-of-life wishes and finances means removing the guesswork when you’re no longer here. If I died tomorrow, my wife and children would know who to contact and have access to all of the information they need to focus on grieving instead of masses of paperwork that could take months or even years to sort out.

Some may be intimidated by these conversations, or wonder where to start, but making end-of-life planning a regular part of your yearly planning process – as regular as taxes – can help ease the fear and uncertainty around death. If you need a place to start, see an estate planning lawyer and financial advisor to help. In addition, visit the Compassion & Choices website to take advantage of their many educational resources to help you understand your options and prepare for your healthcare wishes.

This year, I hope to open more conversations with my children about their financial and healthcare plans. I will also continue to speak with other family members and close friends to share our annual process and encourage them to plan in similar ways for end-of-life. And next January? My kids will be heard saying, “Dad’s planning again!”

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