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Start now with end-of-life discussions: Expert

Advisers can fill void left by doctors, lawyers; living wills, DNRs crucial

May 7, 2012 @ 8:04 am

By Caitlin Mollison

Financial advisers can play a vital role in helping clients with advance medical directives, said Susan Fox, a lawyer in private practice who focuses on end-of-life issues.

Advisers can "step forward and fill the space that has been left open by attorneys or people in the medical profession," including issues related to dementia and long-term care, she said during a session at the FPA Retreat Sunday.

Clients and their children often don't want to think about or discuss end-of-life decisions, but advisers can initiate such conversations with clients and help families implement plans, Ms. Fox said.

"You may be the only one who talks about these sensitive issues with your clients," she said, noting that failure to consider health care issues can be a violation of fiduciary duty.

The types of advance directives include living wills, resuscitation directives and medical durable powers of attorney, Ms. Fox said.

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