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Global perspective: reflections on end-of-life matters

We're all different, yet all the same.

Likely you've heard some closely paraphrased version of that thought. Seemingly, it applies to just about everything in life and cuts across national boundaries to embrace the mindsets and aspirations of people all across the globe.

Put another way: Regarding most important things, Swedes are no different than Indonesians. Americans -- notwithstanding our culture's great diversity and divisions along many lines -- aren't overly dissimilar from Japanese.

From an estate planning perspective, notes The Economist, that centrally means that, while some adjustments in thought do of course exist across international borders, there is generally more to unite than divide us when it comes to thinking about death and end-of-life wishes.

A notable and unquestionably interesting poll recently conducted in various countries, including the United States, clearly reveals that.

Foremost, it stresses that end-of-life considerations do predominate in the thoughts of would-be and actual estate planners in every country as they age. Seniors worry about costs relevant to health care, funerals and financial administration and other matters, as well as the impact of such expenses on surviving loved ones.

The Economist cites some evidence indicating that Americans are more preoccupied than other nationalities with latter-stage medical bills. That will be unsurprising to our readers in Massachusetts and elsewhere, given the prohibitively high costs of health care in the U.S.

And this finding is interesting: More so than other nationalities, Americans show a willingness to act with some resolve in proactively addressing their end-of-life wishes, especially relevant to medical matters. Reportedly, they are comparatively more apt to plan ahead by discussing with family members what they want. And, moreover, they are more inclined to put their sentiments in writing.

Collectively, there are of course a host of end-of-life concerns that can feature for a given planner and his or her extended family. Those can be timely and comprehensively addressed through close consultation with a proven estate administration attorney.

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