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Voice of Experience

Voice of Experience: March 2023 | Transition

Easing the Final Transition

Michael L Goldblatt

Easing the Final Transition

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Over 50 years ago, Alvin Fine wrote The Sacred Pilgrimage, a poem that explores the circle of life. The poem begins, “Birth is a beginning, and death a destination; but life is a journey.” It then enumerates the stages of life, learning, love, and loss. The inspirational poem is featured in prayer books and funeral readings.

Preparing for life's end can make the transition smoother for one's self, caregivers, family, and friends. Adopt a plan early in life and update it as your family, health, personal, and financial situations change. Below are end of life considerations and resources for implementing them.  

Things to Consider

Adopt Directives - adopt an advance directive to stipulate situations for withholding life support.

Consult Advisors - seek guidance from legal, medical, spiritual, and tax professionals.

Communicate with Family - discuss your preferences with family members and advisors.

Funeral Arrangements - make funeral preferences known to your administrator and your family.

Gather Data - prepare a list of accounts, assets, contacts, passwords, and other personal data to share with your administrator and trusted family members.   

Office Continuity - prepare a plan for managing your law practice in case of death or disability.

Sign Documents - sign estate documents and update them for changes in your family, health, and financial situation.

Write Obituary - prepare a death notice and post-mortem letter reviewing your life's events and preferences.


Death brings emotional stress, financial strain, and legal issues. Reduce the demands on your survivors with end-of-life planning. Convey the plans to family and periodically update the plans with your advisors. Facilitate the planning process by using the list of articles, books, checklists, and websites that accompany this article.  The plans will benefit you and your survivors and help assure a happy ending to your life's journey.



Katy Bulter, Preparing for a Good End of Life, Wall Street Journal, Feb. 8, 2019.

Amy Goyer and Andy Markowitz, How to Start a Conversation About End-of-Life Care, AARP, Oct. 14, 2021.

Richard Harris, How This NPR Host Became an Advocate for Assisted Suicide, Next Avenue, Feb. 2, 2016.

Michelle Kaminsky, 11 Things to Do Before You Die, Legal Zoom, Aug. 3, 2022.

Angela Morrow, End-of-Life Strategies, Very Well Health, Oct. 3, 2022.

Steven Petrow, A Dying Mother Wrote Her Children Letters, Leaving A Gift Of Love For Years ,Washington Post, Sep. 2, 2018.  


Neil Gorsuch, The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, Princeton University Press, Sep. 12, 2017.

Sally Balch Hume, ABA/AARP Checklist for My Family: A Guide to My History, Financial Plans, and Final Wishes, Second Edition, Apr. 29, 2022.

Peter Guiliani, Passing the Torch Without Getting Burned, ABA Book Publishing, Apr. 26, 2013.

Law Practice Management Committee, Planning Ahead Guide, New York State Bar Association, 2016.

Randy Pausch and Jeff Zaslow, The Last Lecture, Hyperion, April 8, 2008.

Michael A. Kirtland and Donna J. Jackson, Getting Started with Advance Directives, ABA Book Publishing, Aug. 24, 2020.


Assisted Death

Closing a Law Practice

Estate Planning Documents

End of Life Planning

Preparing for Death


American Psychological Association

Compassion & Choices

National Institute on Aging

Next Avenue