Amanda Zielinski


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What plan if any do you have for your impending death. What brought you to your chosen plan?

It would be nice to see what others have to say, so that those of us who haven't thought of it might be able to borrow off of or base off of the principles of plans that others have in place.

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    Apr 6 2012: In Switzerland we have an organization currently called DialogEthik, which provides a template for a Living Will. I completed my first version 3 years ago. Every year or so they update the template to add new questions, and give you the chance to add your answers. This doc (in my case, 16 pages long) covers when to revive and when not (in case of serious accident), who will deal with the funeral, whether there is to be funeral at all, where the will is to be found, which body parts you are willing to donate to science, and much more. DE keeps one copy and you keep the other at home. (My husband knows where my copy is, and what is in it.) I have a card in my purse at all times with their number to call in case of accident/stroke/cardiac failure/whatever.

    I am also a member of Exit, as assisted suicide is legal in this country.

    Both my parents died of cancer, as did one aunt and so far, one cousin. I know what that long, drawn-out necrotic catastrophe looks like. Everyone suffers, not just the person dying. The only good thing about my family experience is that it forced me to look reality squarely in the face, something I am very glad I have done.
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    Apr 5 2012: As a medical student, I saw and was obliged to participate in far too many instances of end of life done badly - enough that I felt compelled to reconsider my lifelong calling as a physician. Do I have an end of life plan? Definitely. Does it involve a visit to the intensive care unit? Not if I can help it.
    Yes, I realize the irony of that statement - and yes, I have communicated this to my designated decision maker.
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    Mar 30 2012: In the case that I do not go suddenly, but instead am ailing or becoming dysfunctional, I will take my own life by a method of certain death with no cleaning up. House and finances are in the names of our children.
    Confirming a plan came about following the death of a son-in-law, step-mother, and my mother, in a years time. Needless to say, talk of death consumed me for some time. My husband, his daughter, and my own daughter know my plans and accept them.
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    Mar 30 2012: What are they?
  • Mar 29 2012: As a financial advisor for over 32 years I learned the importance of having clients prepare for the end of life. I have used a booklet called "Five Wishes" which carries people through all the important decisions regarding their end of life. It is a wonderful program offered at I suggest that everyone should complete The Five Wishes for themselves! It is very important.
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      Mar 30 2012: Thank you for the site. Both my mother and step-mother died in the same year, my father a few years before.
      My father and his wife had a trust ,which proved quick and easy. My mother had only a Will and various accounts with the names of all four children. There was some squabbling and lots of time while the will went through the court system. I suggest learning what the laws are in your state and be clear about the differences between a trust and a will.
      • Mar 30 2012: Janine,

        This area is very complicated. I spent my career learning all the ins and outs of eldercare. I wrote a book called "Can We Talk" which deals with all the complexities of preserving and protecting our parents legacy.. But each one of us no matter how old should complete "The Five Wishes" Check it out at and complete it yourself. I did and it was a real eye opener, all the things that must be considered when one is in deteriorating health. And who knows when we will be in that situation.
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    Mar 26 2012: Make sure to donate all usable body parts well in advance!
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    Mar 26 2012: I wrote a will in my diary when I was under 10 years old. I think it needs an update.
    I agree about transferring gifts long before death not just for tax burden reasons but also for squabbling reduction.
  • Mar 26 2012: Hello Amanda,
    I agree with Peter; we need to discuss and prepare. Any of us could suddenly find ourselves in a critical care need situation due to an accident or perhaps a stroke. Planning ahead is very beneficial for those who must provide care because it reduces potential for family panic and removes a huge vacuum for health care providers. A living will with durable power of attorney for health care decisions is an absolute must.

    Preparing for death includes a thoroughly considered last will and testament. The details of a will should be summarized with family so that all are aware of why for each detail. This can work well for families who have good relationships. I don't have a clue of what to suggest for squabbling families.

    If persons cannot talk about death and what they desire for distribution of assets, then they miss opportunities for closer family relationships. Maybe there would be complicating relationships, such as extended family or maybe a person (maybe other family members or friends too) who would have fears or difficulties.

    Preparing well eases pain and serves others well who are responsible for the details for the decedent.

    Fear may be due to a mystery of survival after death; maybe a person is unsure of his destiny or if he will be forgotten after gone. Reasons could be many.

    My wife and I talked details of dying with our parents as they were able at different times. We executed the legal details for assets, funeral, burial, and we were prepared for those eventful days. Transferring gifts to family long before death is a wise action to relieve tax burden and for peace.

    I agree with Peter; we must talk and have a plan. If a person cannot plan, then the "assignment" is to find out why.

    If we very personally think of this, why should we die leaving burdens for others we could have solved beforehand?

    Love is at the heart of endearing and meaningful relationships, even during dying.