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Estate Planning: Preparing for End of Life

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Talking about End of Life is never easy. On this year's Gastric Cancer Awareness Month, make arrangements for your Estates in way that benefits your family members.

November is Gastric Cancer Awareness Month

It is difficult to talk about End of Life Planning or Estate Planning after a cancer diagnosis. You might think of your family members and how they would manage your assets after you are gone. Also, if you are the only breadwinner of the family, arranging your assets makes sure your family members do not suffer financially. 

End of Life Planning is important but it doesn’t mean it has to be easy. But think of it this way: You are making sure your family members’ burden will be reduced if you plan your Estate right away and make provisions for their financial well-being after you’re gone. 

A simple Will might not be enough. Instead, you can opt for a comprehensive Estate Plan that includes Advance Health Directive and an End of Life Plan. Through a Health Directive, you can write down the steps your family members must take in case of your illness. This includes decisions about life support and feeding tubes. Through an End of Life Plan, you can protect your Legacy as well as safeguard your family’s future. 

What is End of Life Planning?

End of Life Planning is that part of your Estate Plan which states and formalizes your last wishes about what must happen when you are reaching the last stage of your life. Most of the time, being critically ill means not being able to make decisions about our health or finances. This could create a burden for our loved ones as they will have to make tough decisions on behalf of us. 

An End of Life Plan includes things such as End of Life care preferences as well as what medical interventions must be taken in case of your incapacity. Although this is not an easy topic to think about, by preparing an End of Life Plan, we are making sure our decisions – both medical and financial – are made known. 

End of Life Planning Checklist

Prepare your End of Life Planning Documents

Last Will and Testament

A Last Will and Testament is necessary especially for those with young children. Through this estate planning tool, you can appoint a guardian (an individual whom you trust) to look after your children in case of your death. With whom do your children live and who will look after their financial needs are mentioned in a Last Will and Testament. 

Living Trust

A Living Trust or Revocable Trust guarantees your accrued wealth will be passed down to beneficiaries of your choosing. It is a document that suggests who receives what part of your estate. A Living trust is usually preferred over a Will as it avoids a lengthy court-supervised probate process. 

Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney is someone who ‘steps into your shoes’ in case of your sudden illness or incapacity. When you appoint a Power of Attorney for your financial matters, they are authorized to make legal, tax and financial decisions on your behalf. 

Health Care Proxy

A Health Care Proxy, also known as Health Care Surrogate or Health Care Directive allows you to plan for difficult medical decisions. Through this, you can appoint someone to make health-related decisions for you in case you are unable to make them yourself. This avoids disagreements between family members as to who must decide on critical health matters (matters pertaining to your health.)

Decide between a Will and a Trust

Will or Trust? Not sure which to make? A Will is simple while Trusts can be complex. The major difference between a Will and a Trust is, a Will is not effective until your death whereas a Trust goes into effect as soon as you create and fund it.

Use a Will to:

  • Name guardians
  • Plan for your final arrangements
  • State your wishes as to how you want your assets to be passed down and handled

Use a Trust for:

  • Privacy: Wills go public after the death of an individual whereas Trusts are private. If you want some of your decisions to remain private, you can include them in a Trust.
    Protection from
  • Litigation: As Trusts technically own your Estates, they are protected from litigation.
  • Control over asset distribution: You can state rules as to when your beneficiary must receive a part of your asset. For eg: when your child turns 21, they receive a part of your Estate or some money.

End of Life Housing

You might want to think about End of Life Housing. This includes making a choice as to what type of End of Life Housing you want: an assisted living facility, a nursing home, or an in-house care. 

If you want to move to an assisted living facility, think of the amenities, medical facilities and services available. If your choice is to move to a nursing home, you will have to think of the kind of room you want, common activities and how many nursing stations there are. 

In-house care is a different experience altogether. You will have to think of future caregivers – who seems fit and if it is a family member, will they be able to provide the kind of care you are looking for. 

Funeral Arrangements and Obituary

Think about your religious beliefs, final wishes and accordingly make plans for your funeral or burial arrangements. Do you want to be cremated? If yes, then what should your family do with your ashes? Let them know what they must do in such cases.

Are you thinking of burial? There are many types of burial so make sure your family members know what kind of burial you want. 

You can also state your wishes on visitation, wake and memorial service. 

Some people wish to write their obituary and death notice while some choose to have a conversation about the same with a trusted friend or family member, letting them know what they would like to include when the time comes. 

It is never too late or early to start preparing for the future. If you haven’t started preparing for your Estates, this is the right time to do it. If you have an Estate Plan in place but want to include End of Life decisions, revisit your plan and make the necessary changes. 

If you own Digital Assets and are looking forward to passing them to your family members, you might want to create a Digital Estate Plan. Have a look at How to create a Digital Estate Plan.

Sign-up with Clocr and get all the help you need in creating a Digital Estate Plan or a Digital Will.