Planning for your death might seem morbid, but the truth is that death is a reality that we all have to accept eventually. Once we accept that, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t plan for it as well. There are many reasons why people choose to leave their affairs in order before dying. One of the most important ones is that this relieves family members of many duties that they would have after your passing. A close second is that no one knows exactly when they’re going to die. So being prepared for the unexpected is always a good idea. Today, we’re going to go through the main things you should take care of when it comes to death planning.
Death Planning Guide: What Should You Keep in Mind?
Having the Difficult Conversation
Even if planning for your death is strictly related to your wishes, before you start planning anything, you should let people around you know. Not only because they care about you and they might be of great support to you during this process. Let them know also because some of your decisions might involve them as well.
Prepare for a difficult conversation, since most people don’t know what to do when a loved one dies. Especially if you’ve just been diagnosed with an incurable disease, and no one else knows it but you, take the time to calmly explain to your family and close friends your decision to focus on death planning as long as you have the chance.
Updating the Will
If you already have a will, all you have to do is update it. Of course, there can also be no need for an update. However, always make sure that your will is up-to-date. If you don’t have a will yet, now is the time to draft one. It’s very important for the people close to you not to have to sort through a difficult financial situation once you’re gone. This also means you have to think about estate planning. You can hire an estate planner who can take you through some estate planning basics.
Making Sure Your Dependents Are Taken Care of
If you have people who rely on you and who will be left without support once you’re gone, you have to think about who can replace you and make sure they still get everything they need. This is especially delicate if you have children who are under the age of 18. However, it can also happen that you have sick parents who depend on you, or maybe an ill partner. Regardless of who the people you’ll leave behind are, you have to make absolutely sure that someone will be there to take care of them.
You can do this by appointing a legal guardian. Ideally, the legal guardian should be a close family member. However, if this is not an option, you can also choose one of your close friends. The important thing to remember is that it has to be someone you can fully trust. Moreover, consider how their life is going to change if you ask them for this incredible favor.
Teaching Others How to Manage Finances
Especially if you’re the person in the family who makes all financial decisions and takes care of everything related to money, then you’re going to have to teach someone else to do that. In a typical family, there’s always one person who is in charge of finances more than the others. Since the members of your family will have to do that once you’re gone, you should take the time to at least teach them the basics.
Even if you might think that doing this when you know you don’t have that much time to spend with them is a waste of time, the process won’t take long. Moreover, it will be of great help to them. After your passing, they’ll be so focused on their grief that they won’t feel capable of learning such mundane things as how to manage finances.
Writing Down Anything You Consider Important
Death planning is not something you can do without writing things down. And there are plenty of information that you should write down and make official (whenever possible). For instance, consider whether you want someone to make decisions for you if you won’t be able to make them yourself. This applies both to medical decisions and financial ones.
Then, you should also write down any medical wishes you might have. Think of a contact list and of various information related to your funeral. The contact list should contain people who you want notified of your death and people who you don’t. The funeral information can be a simple sketch of who you want to attend your funeral, where you want it to be held, if you want to be cremated or not, and so on. However, you can also go one step further and plan your own funeral to the letter. This is something many people do as they prepare to die. A more detailed plan could include types of flowers, music, or even writing your own obituary.
Other important information that you might want to write down in your death planning file include important account numbers that you want your family members to close, insurance details, social security numbers, and any other kind of password that you think your friends or family members might need after your death.
Saving a Life
Many people choose to donate their organs once they die, in order to help other people. However, this is an extremely personal decision. Thus, it’s completely up to you if you want to do that or not. If you do decide to become an organ donor, you can always sign up by accessing the USA Organ Donor Registry.
A Few Closing Remarks
As gruesome as death planning might sound to some people, the truth is that it’s extremely practical. It’s also helpful, not only to you, but to your close family members and friends as well. Life is unpredictable, so it’s always a good idea to be prepared for whatever might come your way. Still, all of the decisions we mentioned above are extremely important. Consequently, you should take your time with them so that you’ll be at peace with whatever you choose.