Americans became planners, briefly, after Princess Diana died, Soffe says. The image of the little princes, William and Harry, walking behind their mother's casket left spectators heartsick and determined. If it could happen to her, it could happen to anyone. Estate, health care and funeral preplanning surged. Soffe says that, as usually happens as memories fade, it was not long-lived.
But making your own decisions, preplanning and communicating your wishes is still the best way to get what you want, on your terms, when circumstances are no longer in your control.
Terrill's family says he was a shooting star. He was among the youngest to graduate from his law school and so good at his job that his family figured he'd be a millionaire or a judge or both by 40. He died at age 36 after a boating accident. He left behind a wife, a son, a stack of medical bills and a house his family could not afford without his income.
His sister tells the story quietly, asking that his last name not be used to spare his folks hurt feelings. Nothing was further from his mind than death. He had health insurance that didn't cover as much as they'd thought, days that didn't stretch to cover all his plans, and a sense that nothing could harm him.
He was wrong.
Editor's Note: Advance directive and end-of-life planning is an important and neglected topic. Families often shy away, and when crisis comes, relatives are left trying to guess what someone would have wanted. This week, Deseret Media Companies has joined a coalition to raise awareness about the issue, in conjunction with passage of SCR2, which asks Utahns to consider making their own decisions, appointing an agent and having those tricky conversations. The Deseret News and KSL TV will be running stories on the subject all week.
Click here to download advance care directive forms that can help you make decisions about the health care you would like to receive.
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