Give Thanks and Share Your Thoughts about Incapacity

Like many Americans, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I love that we emphasize our blessings and gather to reflect on the numerous reasons we have to give thanks. As an attorney who helps people get their affairs in order, I am also acutely aware that in addition to having fun and making cherished memories, Thanksgiving is an opportune time to talk at ease and at length with those closest to us. This makes it a great time to discuss your thoughts about incapacity and your wishes should you become incapacitated.

Remember the Terri Schiavo case? Who did you side with and why? Have you heard about Jahi McMath? What if it were you? What would you want to happen? What about Brittany Maynard? What are your thoughts about her decision? Do you have strong feelings for or against the right to die? What are your convictions, in general, about a diminished quality of life? What if you collapsed, fell into a coma, and were declared brain dead while pregnant like Marlise Munoz? Would you want to be kept alive until your baby is born?

Cannot picture yourself talking about incapacity while passing the cranberry sauce? I completely understand. It may seem awkward, but by discussing a well-known case, you can initiate the dialogue naturally without sounding downbeat. The above names are of real people, loved immensely by families who had to face incredibly difficult decisions. By no means does a discussion surrounding incapacity have to dominate today’s conversation. What matters is that you take advantage of the precious time together to express the fundamental thoughts, beliefs, and wishes you hold and may not have the time or opportunity to share otherwise. Please take heed and do that today. I cannot tell you the number of people who have shared with me how grateful they are that years before they desperately had to recall the information, they had these types of conversations over the turkey, during the game, or around the tree.

From my family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

Aubrey Carew Sizer is a Northern Virginia estate planning, estate litigation and administration, elder law, and domestic relations attorney. You can contact her via her website, www.carewsizerlaw.com, or at 571-403-2619.

© 2016 Aubrey Carew Sizer, Esquire. All Rights Reserved.

Posted on: November 26, 2015