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Gainesville Florida Estate Planning & Elder Law Blog

Monday, April 24, 2017

An End-of Life Letter

Talking about the end of life is arguably the most difficult challenge for any family. As a result, some never have the discussion, and the result is surviving family members are left making challenging decisions without any guidance.

For those who feel that having the conversation is impossible, there is an alternative – write a letter.

The Stanford Letter Project was started in 2015 by Dr. VJ Periyakoil based on her own experiences with dying patients who never took the time to communicate their wishes to family and physicians.

The objective of the Stanford Letter Project goes beyond simply explaining your healthcare wishes. It also gives people an opportunity to communicate how much you may care for loved ones. If there are unresolved issues, it creates an opportunity for closure as well.

At the Stanford Letter Project website you can find three extremely effective templates. They include a What Matters Most Letter that can be used to explain what’s important to the person and what treatments they would like. There is also a Letter Project Advance Directive form. And finally there is a template for a Friend and Family Letter that can be used to say “thank you,” “I love you” or “goodbye.”

So while we still believe in the importance of the family conversation, if you find that too challenging, this may be an effective alternative.


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