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Procrastinators' Alert: Time to Start End-of-Life Planning

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Tuesday, August 30, 2022   

August is National Make-a-Will Month, one of many opportunities for Connecticut residents to begin end-of-life planning.

Only around 46% of Americans have a will, a 2% increase from 2016, according to a recent Gallup poll, and 45% have what's known as a "living will," which includes medical-care preferences if they are unable to speak for themselves.

Sam Young, senior director of legacy and planned giving for Compassion & Choices, said it can be easy to put off, because people assume it is too expensive or might be too complicated. But he noted one big reason is, people have a hard time coming to terms with their own mortality.

"It's really hard to have a conversation with someone about their mortality or their death, and COVID has really made us more aware of this," Young pointed out. "It's not just being terminally ill or old; it's unfortunately, any of us can have a situation where we have to face that mortality."

Young explained some people assume their last wishes will be left to their families to decide, or they don't have a lot of assets and figure they would not need a will. He argued both are myths, and only a written will can be used to determine how a person's possessions will be distributed.

There are a bevy of ways to go about making a will. The most common is consulting an attorney. Compassion & Choices partners with Free Will, which Young describes as a no-cost, easy-to-use website, to create a document which must then be witnessed and notarized.

No matter how the will is developed, Young wants to make sure people have one. He feels end-of-life planning is a necessity for everyone.

"It's really an opportunity to create a comfort for you and your family," Young emphasized. "That your memory and your legacy, and the things that are important to you during your life, are in place at the time of your passing."

He added Compassion & Choices also provides online guides for dementia directives, power of attorney, and other end-of-life-related services.

Disclosure: Compassion & Choices contributes to our fund for reporting on Civic Engagement, Health Issues, Senior Issues, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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