While knowing and facing the inevitable is beyond difficult for all involved, it also provides an opportunity for the terminal person to express their wishes regarding the belongings.

Nothing can cause rifts in families faster than relatives fighting over items they wanted or thought they should have received for one reason or another. In order to keep things equitable, and make it about the loved one’s wishes rather than relatives wishes after the fact, it is advisable to try and have the terminal patient take an active role in laying out their wishes.

This is most easily done through a living will. An attorney can help with this process, or you can use a service such as LegalZoom to obtain the relevant paperwork and walk through the process. This allows the patient to express who they would like to have what, list out any assets that will need to be dealt with, end of life ceremonies, and how they would like other items or affairs to be handled / dispersed upon their death. A will is normally notarized acknowledging it as an official legal document that can be upheld in court.

The patient may wish to disburse some items while they are still living. While this may or may not seem fair to all parties involved, it is important to remember that this is about the terminal patient’s wishes and allowing them to make decisions and control the things they are able to. Allowing them to help in this step can give them some peace of mind and control over an otherwise seemingly hopeless situation.

In addition, allowing the patient to express their desires helps to keep family members working constructively together to carry out their loved one’s wishes.

If you have questions about this topic, we are happy to help. Feel free to contact us any time and we will do our best to provide resources and/or answers to guide you.