Young Mom’s Premature Death Shows Need for End-of-Life Planning

August 24, 2023

In an op-ed by Juan Tapia published in the Houston Chronicle this week, Juan tells the story of his daughter-in-law, Crystal Villegas, a 31-year-old mom who died of fungal meningitis in July.

The piece highlights the importance of end-of-life planning for everyone. It also highlights National Make-A-Will Month and Compassion & Choices’ partnership with FreeWill, whose free online estate planning tool helps in writing a legal will or testament. The following is an edited excerpt:

”My daughter-in-law, Crystal Villegas, was known for her healthy lifestyle. Her love of fitness and health attracted a huge following on Facebook and Instagram. Sometimes her daily videos included my son, Juan “‘Johnny Blaze”’ Tapia, a featherweight boxer, and their three children, ages 8 months, 3 and 7. 

“But in March, 31-year-old Crystal began to vomit and experience severe headaches. In early April, my son found her on the floor, semi-unconscious, with a temperature of 103 degrees. He rushed her to the emergency room.

“Crystal always knew she was going to die. Within weeks, she called a financial planner colleague to help her update her insurance policy to protect the children. She signed a do not resuscitate (DNR) order and gave power of attorney to her husband, Johnny, so he could make financial decisions if she was unable to do so.”

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