Our local paper the Roanoke Times, had an excellent article over the weekend, that featured a local woman as she made decisions about the end of her life. I would recommend you read the article.

I was delighted to read of someone who actually made these decisions for herself, rather than avoid the subject and allow family or friends to make the decisions for her.

What decisions?

1. Long term care option. She chose Hospice when she could not fight her cancer any longer.
2. Funeral plans. She made them all herself and wrote her own obituary.
3. Disbursement of money. The article implied she had a Will and had made plans for her belongings in the Will.

Many people don’t like to think about their own mortality and simply refuse to make these decisions. But as Benjamin Franklin said to a friend at age 83 – nothing is certain but death and taxes.

And while I am not an elder law attorney who provides advise for these decisions, I have seen how difficult it is for families when these decisions have to be made quickly, and with little help.

So, my advice to the baby boomers and older (age 60 – 90), please plan. Please do the following:

1. Have a Power of Attorney and Will drafted and in place.
2. Plan where you would like to be buried, etc. so your family does not have to guess.
3. Start planning for health care needs – now. If its too late to buy long term care insurance, make inquiries into other local options. If you flat out refuse to be in a nursing home, you need to make this wish known to your family.
4. Keep your friends and family posted on your plans so they can help.

I think the woman in the article was very brave, and should be commended for her confident decisions. While her family misses her I am sure, they must be so grateful she did so much of the planning herself.

Lauren Ellerman
Lauren Ellerman

In 2011, Lauren Ellerman was named "Young Lawyer of the Year" by the Roanoke Bar Association for her work in the community. To speak with Lauren about your personal injury case, contact her at