Like it or not, we’re all going to die one day. One of the most important things an adult can do is prepare for what comes next. Many times, end of life planning is overlooked because it’s uncomfortable, but in reality, such planning makes grieving easier for the loved ones you leave behind.
Communication is key when it comes to macabre topics like end of life documents. Here is an end of life checklist to make preparation for your arrangements a little bit easier.
Living Wills and Other Healthcare Directives
Living wills are documents that detail instructions for your medical care if you are unable to do so. These documents aren’t just for elderly or aging people — all adults should have them in place in case of emergency situations.
A living will usually details what medical treatments you would like or would refuse when it comes to extraordinary measures. These documents may include such directions as to whether you want tube feeding, CPR, or even to donate your organs when you pass. They may also dictate a desire to live with a loved one instead of in assisted-living type facilities.
Additionally, you should designate a healthcare power of attorney. Your healthcare power of attorney is a person who is aware of your medical wishes and will act in your best interest if you are not able to make decisions for yourself. Your healthcare power of attorney should be someone who is able to carry out your wishes regardless of how difficult that may be.
Estates and Living Trusts for End of Life Planning
Having an up-to-date and legal will can make things so much easier for your loved ones when you are gone. Not only does a will determine who gets what when you’re gone, but it also acts as a safeguard for your assets. If you die without a will, the way your assets are handled and divided are subject to state law.
These documents don’t just protect you and your assets after death, but also if you are unable to make decisions for yourself. This also saves your loved ones from paying exorbitant transfer taxes when they are transferring your assets.
Additionally, everyone should have a living trust. Living trusts are documents that detail your wishes should something happen that leaves you unable to communicate them. There are also irrevocable living trusts, which serve to protect asset and cannot be altered once they are established.
Funeral Planning and Beyond
Your end of life documents can also express wishes for plans for your funeral services, what your obituary will say, how your body is handled, and so much more. With that in mind, you may want to learn more about what happens when the person who’s been designated to make final arrangements for your remains can’t fulfill their obligations.
You should definitely do some advance planning for your arrangements, but pre-paying may not be a great idea as you may forfeit your investment if you move or change your mind about what services you’d like.
It’s overwhelming to think of all of the things that need to be done to get ready for the end. In the meantime, check out how else you can finalize your end of life planning. It’s safe to say that the peace of mind you’ll feel once everything is squared away will be priceless.