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by Abigail Van Buren

Sooner Rather Than Later Is Time To Get Affairs In Order

DEAR ABBY: My mother is a certified nursing assistant for hospice and loves her work. She has been assisting the terminally ill for 16 years. I'm writing because lately she has become insistent that my brother and I complete our wills, medical directives, powers of attorney, etc.

My brother and I are in our late 20s and in excellent health. While I do agree that Mom's advice is prudent, I have the impression that she views this issue -- and our family -- through the lens of her negative work experiences. Is there an appropriate time and place to discuss this matter? -- LOOKING WAY AHEAD IN CHICAGO

DEAR LOOKING: Absolutely. How about tonight at the dinner table? The time to have these discussions -- and put your thoughts in writing -- is while you are healthy and thinking clearly. While I agree that what may be driving your mother are things she sees at work every day, the reality is that illness and tragedy can strike people of all ages at any time.

It's important that family members hear what a person wants -- or doesn't want -- should a situation arise in which that person is unable to speak for him- or herself. And it's equally important for you and your brother to hear what your mother's wishes are if you don't already know.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Death