NPR’s Planet Money has dropped in on La Crosse, Wis., to find out why so many people there have planned for their deaths, writing down what they want to have happen at their end of their lives. Ninety-six percent of people who die in La Crosse have specific directions written for how they will handle death. Nationwide, it’s more like 50 percent.
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In La Crosse, if you don’t fill out a directive, you’ll hear about it from your neighbors, apparently. And officials in other communities are trying to model end-of-life planning after La Crosse, which first started focusing on the issue 20 years ago.