Certainly, acute anticipatory grief comes into one’s consciousness upon the diagnosis of a terminal illness of oneself or of a loved one. A more chronic and less intense grief starts much earlier in life, when we realize at a young age that we and our loved ones will eventually die. This realization leads to a flood of overwhelming emotions that leave us breathless for a moment — anticipatory grief. But this anticipatory grief allows the family to prepare for the inevitable loss of a loved one.
Grief starts much earlier than a diagnosis of a terminal illness and inches, sometimes barely noticeably, throughout each person’s lifetime. And, of course, each person experiences grief differently.
Our understanding and skill in the estate planning process intersects with the client’s fear of death and anticipatory grief. In no other area of the law is it more essential that estate planning attorneys understand their role as counselors. In order to assist the client in making meaningful and well thought-out decisions with respect to their estate plan, attorneys must continually refine their counseling skills.