Some family-centric topics are quickly gravitated toward and discussed with openness and enthusiasm.

Upcoming vacation plans, for example. Getting a puppy. Buying a new car.

Not so much end-of-life health care planning.

Based on empirical evidence (and reams of it), that latter subject matter is akin to cold water in the face on a February morning for millions of Americans.

“End of life planning is never an easy topic of discussion,” we succinctly note on a relevant page of our legal website at the Arkansas law firm of Robertson, Oswalt, Nony & Associates.

Yet it is invariably an important one for most families, with well-considered input being necessary in any estate plan that it intended to be truly comprehensive.

As important as the subject is, though, legions of people simply don’t want to talk about it, much less execute legal documents concerning things like life-prolonging medical treatments and the appointment of a person to make key decisions for another party in the event of the latter’s incapacity.

In fact, a recent study taking a look at scores of other reports published over a number of years concludes that only about one-third of surveyed Americans have executed an advance health care directive or related documents such as a living will or health care proxy (health care power of attorney).

Federal health officials more than imply that such a low percentage is unfortunate. The nation’s Medicare program actually pays doctors these days to counsel patients regarding end-of-life planning and relevant documentation in cases they deem appropriate.

As we note on our site, an advance health care directive can be a key component in a larger estate plan. An experienced estate planning attorney can answer questions and provide tailored guidance.