Empowering Endings: Insights from OBA’S “Comprehensive End-of-Life Planning” Program

  • December 05, 2023
  • Yalda Mousavi, articling student, WeirFoulds LLP

On October 19, 2023, the Elder Law Section hosted a discussion featuring notable experts in the field of comprehensive end-of-life planning, including Jeanette Bock, a professional consultant and owner of Fluid Senior Transitions; Carly Hickey, a registered nurse who started ACE Planning Co.; Amelia Yiu, an estate litigator from Elm Law Professional Corporation; and Jennifer Corak, an estate planning lawyer from WeirFoulds LLP (chair of the program).

The program offered unique perspectives on end-of-life planning, and all panelists shared the same key take-aways: the importance of fostering open and honest communication with family members and loved ones regarding one’s end-of-life wishes, initiating these discussions early and frequently, and recognizing the importance of documenting one’s desires.

Understanding End-of-Life Planning

The panel began by addressing the fundamental question: what does end-of-life planning encompass? It was emphasized that this process extends beyond the preparation of wills and powers of attorney, which, while crucial, represent only a portion of the broader planning canvas.

End-of-life planning, the panel concurred, involves the careful arrangement of various aspects of one's life, both financial and personal, ensuring these arrangements are well-documented and widely understood. Jeanette urged the audience to consider often-overlooked facets such as funeral arrangements, daily routines, and the nuances of personal preferences, like bathing frequency, dietary choices, and social activities. Furthermore, considerations related to residence, care providers, and the type of life one wants to live must also be contemplated. Discussions will help loved ones know what the individual in question wants and will also help them understand what the individual does not want (including where the individual draws the line on certain healthcare and personal decisions).

Carly Hickey emphasized the importance of advance care planning and looking at end-of-life planning through a family-driven approach, or in other words, by considering the entire family unit. Amelia Yiu also agreed that although someone’s end-of-life plans are very personal, there is a strong family component to many healthcare and related decisions that cannot be ignored. The panelists discussed that engaging family and loved ones in the planning process not only bolsters their confidence in instructing medical professionals but also mitigates guilt, reduces uncertainty, and simplifies the logistical challenges during emotionally charged moments. It may also reduce the chance of costly litigation between family members.