It’s a shocking and infrequently cited fact that the death rate among the human population in the United States is 100%. It will happen to all of us. When you think of it this way, the idea of having a Health Care Directive or Living Will is not so much a “what if” piece of estate planning, but a “when” piece of estate planning. The Health Care Directive makes your wishes clear to your loved ones, both during your life (should you be unable to communicate instructions to your health care provider) and also after your life (funeral plans, etc.).
The NPR program Planet Money had a great feature this week on the town of Lacrosse, Wisconsin, where residents are not afraid of talking about death. The podcast is available here: http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2014/02/28/283444163/episode-521-the-town-that-loves-death
Also, a while back, another NPR program, Radio Lab, had a feature about end of life issues (aptly titled “The Bitter End”). It turns out that doctors who have a more realistic view of end of life care (i.e. life support, CPR, etc.) feel strongly against such measures when making decisions about their own care. This podcast and story can be found at: http://www.radiolab.org/story/262588-bitter-end/