Do You Have An Exit Strategy for the End of Your Life?

Do You Have An Exit Strategy for the End of Your Life?

3 Key questions can help you shape an exit strategy for your life.

Polly shared her excitement with me after attending a business seminar. “The whole day was about developing an exit strategy for my business. There are so many pieces to think about. I realize I need to proactively define how I’d like to exit my business somewhere down the road.”

What a terrific parallel to life, or should I say the end of life?

What is your exit strategy?

Perhaps you’ve never considered the final months, weeks or days of your life. With thoughtful planning, you can prepare yourself and your loved ones for the end-of-life journey, whenever and however it unfolds.

Considering three basic questions will help you shape your exit strategy.

1. Who will be equipped to make decisions on your behalf?

Arguments over treatment choices for the patient can cause families to unravel in a medical emergency. Legally empowering the right people to serve as your healthcare agents is critical. Clearly expressing your preferences for medical, physical, emotional and spiritual care is essential to support your agents and medical team in making decisions that honor your wishes. Additionally, financial decisions and actions might be required of others if you are incapacitated. Wisely choosing your financial power of attorney is equally crucial.

2. Who will be saddled with combing through your stuff?

As my husband and I prepare to downsize from our home in the next couple of years, we are continually striving to “thin out.” We (OK … mostly me) are astonished at the volume of stuff that has accumulated—our files, books, art, clothing, furniture etc. The decisions whether to save, throw or give away feel infinite, and this is our stuff. I can only imagine the frustration our adult children would express at having to clear out our home if required, particularly if my husband and I had not taken the time and used our own emotional energy to filter through as many of these decisions as possible. Moreover, they might inadvertently throw away something of great value.

3. Will your estate plan make sense to your loved ones?

A well-crafted estate plan will ensure your personal representative can follow your instructions without backlash or undue administrative hassle. How you choose to distribute your property and wealth can leave deep wounds—or, be beautiful blessings. In a movie, surprises regarding a deceased character’s will can add drama; however, in real life, the loss of a hoped for inheritance could be devastating for a family member. Supporting your decisions with a loving explanation can at least give loved ones the opportunity to understand your choices—even if they don’t agree—and shield your personal representative from potential family turmoil.

Start the conversation now!

Consider the emotional, social, financial and spiritual impact of your passing. With planning, you can leave this world, your life and your loved ones gently. Instead of creating a burden that consumes the emotional and physical energy of those you cherish most, your thoughtfully communicated exit strategy can preserve family relationships. You can spare your loved ones from cleaning up a mess you’ve left behind. Now that truly is a gift of love.


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