When I was reporter for The Atlanta Constitution, my colleagues and I had deep respect for those who wrote obituaries, stories on how a life had been lived. As an attorney handling estate matters, both planning and administration, I know writing an obit is a solemn and often sad task.
As this article describes, many obit writers see their work as telling readers about someone’s lifetime, not about the person’s death. They suggest that obituaries can teach all of us a lot about how to live our lives better. I frequently read obituaries and am often touched by lives well lived.
I have recommended to estate planning clients that they consider writing their own obituaries. Who knows your life better than you? Or the values and priorities that have guided you along your journey? A very dear client of mine described her end of life efforts as “packing her bags.” Many appreciate writing the first draft of their life’s story. It is also a kindness to the loved ones they leave behind who may not know where to begin. Obituaries, while about someone who has died, really are for the living.