[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
February 28, 1996

Last Wishes: A Handbook to Guide Your Survivors

Author Affiliations

University of South Florida College of Medicine Tampa

JAMA. 1996;275(8):643. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530320067038

"A man's dying is more the survivor's affair than his own."—Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain

When Thomas Mann wrote of death, he recognized that survivors are profoundly affected by the passing of a loved one. To many, this is the ultimate loss. All too often the strain is compounded when the death occurs unexpectedly, forcing survivors to make difficult decisions without knowing many of the wishes of the deceased. A new publication, Last Wishes, hopes to alleviate this stress on family and friends by providing individuals the opportunity to specify their bequests and instructions before death. As one of the authors, Lucinda Knox, observes, "One of the saddest, most stressful times of a person's life— losing a loved one—is made even more difficult by having to make important decisions and search for needed information. Most people don't leave written instructions for their survivors."

Last Wishes is a workbook to be