‘Healthy Aging’ is the new buzzword. WHO defines ‘healthy aging’ as maintaining functional ability and enabling well-being in older age. The United Nations Decade of Healthy Ageing (2021-2030), a global initiative, for the last ten years of sustainable development goals for improving the lives of older people, their families, and the community. The above events illustrate the growing importance of health for aging.
However, preparing for end-of-life planning doesn’t begin in the final days of life but instead requires planning. End-of-life care is an inevitable part of estate planning. According to Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services, 90% of people consider discussing end-of-planning care with loved ones crucial, but only 27% of people have done so. Why is End-of-life planning essential?
The article explains the significance of end-of-life planning and the essential steps to prepare for end-of-life care.
What Is End Of Life Planning?
End-of-life planning involves making decisions and planning your end-of-life decisions and making your preferences known to your loved ones. Preparing for end of life planning involves making crucial decisions regarding health, finance, medical, and property. End-of-life planning, also known as advance care planning, is a significant part of estate planning but often the most neglected one.
Whether an individual is enduring a terminal illness or a severe injury, end-of-planning makes your loved ones aware of your last wishes. How can one prepare for end-of-life planning? Generally, advance care planning is done through a healthcare professional or proxy. However, in certain circumstances, an individual may require legal help.
What does End-of Planning include?
- Last wishes
- Healthcare preferences(regarding life-support or organ donation)
- Will and Trust
- Health Care proxy Instructions
- Funeral plan and arrangements
- End-of-Life House Arrangements
- Instructions for pet care
- Instructions regarding Digital Assets
Why Is End Of Life Planning Important?
- The ebbs and flows of life are unpredictable. Can you foresee them? There is no golden rule book to predict your life. “Change is the only constant.” But, you can always plan ahead of time to adapt to the most inherent nature of life – change.
In the face of the throes of life, end-of-life planning is a soothing aide that alleviates the pain.
The following are the reasons why you should have an end-of-life plan in place:
- Make your wishes official
It would help if you informed your caregivers and healthcare professionals about your preferences during a severe illness, an injury, or even a surgical procedure. The best way to make your end-of-life decisions official is – estate planning. Moreover, having your legal documents up-to-date and in place can ensure a smooth transition through the tumults of life.
- Inform your loved ones about your medical preferences.
“Blood is thicker than water.” The quote may be subjective. You might define your loved ones or friends as your family. Informing your medical preferences to people who matter is crucial to avoid any guesswork or misunderstandings later.
- To plan for severe illnesses
Sometimes an illness may leave you incapacitated or unable to express your wishes. An advance directive is a legal document that allows you to define your preferences and medical decisions.
In case of serious illness, medical decisions include whether you would opt for artificial nutrition, an artificial hydration tube, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or ventilators.
- Reduce the burden on loved ones.
“Grief and love are conjoined; you don’t get one without the other.” Despite the grief your loved ones face, there comes the responsibility to provide you with the utmost care. An end-of-life plan can ease the burden off the shoulders and help them to carry out your last wishes.
- Secure your digital legacy
Securing your digital legacy is crucial in the face of the surge in cyber crimes. A digital estate helps document the disposition of your digital assets and secures them from intruders and third parties. Most importantly, it informs your loved ones about what you possess rather than being lost in time.
Above all, end-of-life planning renders peace of mind to your loved ones and you.
How We Can Improve The End Of Life Planning Conversation?
- 1. Choose the right time to talk
- 2. Initiate your conversation with an anecdote.
- 3. Introduce the “contrul” angle.
- 4. Expect multiple rounds of talks.
- 5. Respect their thoughts
End Of Life Planning Checklist
Here is a comprehensive end of life document checklist that acts as your estate planning guide:
- 1. End-of-life care documents
The following are the end-of-life care documents to specify your crucial end-of-life decisions:
- Will and Testament
A last will and testament is a document specifying an individual’s last wishes regarding the distribution of physical assets like personal property and real estate, financial assets like investments, and bank accounts after death. The will preparation process can involve an estate lawyer or an estate planning attorney. Besides, you can create a will through an online service.
- Revocable Living Trust
A revocable trust is a legal arrangement between an individual (the grantor) and the trustee to manage an individual’s assets for the beneficiary. In a revocable trust, the grantor controls the assets and entrusts the trustee to maintain their assets. A living trust helps to avoid the lengthy probate process and the need for a probate lawyer.
- Living Will
A Living Will is a legally written document that entails an individual’s medical decisions, such as preferences regarding resuscitation, artificial hydration and nutrition tubes, ventilators, and antibiotics.
- Power of Attorney
A durable power of attorney for healthcare or finance nominates an individual to make medical, financial, or legal decisions on your behalf.
- Organ/Tissue Donation Card
An Organ Donation Card specifies instructions regarding organ donation for healthcare professionals if you wish to do so after death.
- 2. List of Assets/ Liabilities
Assets are certainly your prized possessions. Securing them is a priority that tops your end-of-life end of life planning checklist.
The following simple estate planning checklist entails the significant assets /liabilities:
- Bank Accounts/Safe Deposit Box
- Investment Accounts/ Stocks/Bonds
- Life Insurance Policies
- Pension / Retirement Plans
- Real Estate/Mortgages
- Credit Cards
- Outstanding Loans
- Online Accounts
- 3. Complete list of people to contact
“Adversities might knock on your door when you least expect them.” Hence, it is essential to have a complete list of people your loved ones should contact in an emergency.
Moreover, your contact list should include the following:
- Beneficiaries in your Will
- Close Friends
- Beneficiaries of IRA, Annuity, Life Insurance, and Other.
- 4. Specify Funeral Arrangements
Planning your funeral might seem weird and even daunting. But specifying your funeral arrangements helps your loved ones to clear the air in the face of grief.
There are different types of funeral arrangements:
- Home Funerals
- Traditional Service
- Memorial Service
- Celebration of Life
- Full-Service Cremation
- Scattering of Ashes Ceremony
- Direct Burial
- 5. Create an obituary notice or death notice.
An obituary or death notice is a brief factual statement announcing an individual’s death to the public. Some people prefer to create their obituary notice themselves or inform their loved ones at the right time.
End-of-life planning questionnaire
Planning your end-of-life eases the burden on your loved ones and yourself. The following are a few questions for creating the ultimate end of life planning questionnaire:
- Who should be notified of your death?
- Do you have minor children, and have you chosen a guardian?
- Do you have children with special needs?
- Is your Will up-to-date?
- Have you appointed an executor or an estate planning lawyer?
- Do you have a living will to avoid probate?
- Do you have an up-to-date list of assets and debts?
- Have you appointed a durable power of attorney to manage your finances on your behalf?
- Do your beneficiaries have the documents they need to claim the benefits?
- Whom would you appoint as a healthcare proxy to speak on your behalf when incapacitated?
- What are your healthcare preferences in end-of-life care treatment?
- Would you prefer resuscitation if you stopped breathing?
- Do you prefer a home, hospital, or hospice facility at the end of your life?
- Would you prefer a burial or cremation ceremony?
- Do you have a legacy to pass on to your future generations
The Bottom Line
Preparing for end-of-life involves different aspects, right from discussion to documenting your finding your wishes. End-of-life planning can be complex initially, but planning ahead of time has several benefits, from informing your loved ones and healthcare professionals to receiving the appropriate treatment in time.
Wills and trusts are essential estate planning instruments that help specify your final wishes regarding advance care. Above all, end-of-planning is the ultimate gift to you and your loved ones.
We at Clocr help you create your Last Will, an essential estate planning tool that helps document your final wishes. A last will helps you specify your assets’ disposition, mention the beneficiaries and appoint an executor. Clocr’s digital estate services help to organize and secure your online accounts. Also, you can appoint an executor to manage your digital estate. So, to create and secure your legacy, Join Clocr today