Life is unpredictable, and though we’d all like to believe there will be plenty of time to prepare, it’s not always possible to prepare for the circumstances surrounding the end of our lives.
Leaving clear instructions for our loved ones to follow in the wake of our death is one of the most caring acts we can perform in life. It allows them to grieve without the stress of trying to determine our desires.
Here are four things you can do for your family right now that might help ease the pain of your absence.
1. Take Account of Your Assets
One of the most impactful things we can do at any point in our lives is to make a detailed account of our belongings and equity. Will & Estate Planning grants us the legal authority from beyond the grave to remain the arbiter of how all we have accrued in life is distributed, donated, or disposed of.
Too many put this crucial aspect of end-of-life planning off until it is too late. Others make the mistake of thinking this is a step only the particularly wealthy need to take. The truth is that if you have any assets at all, you must take full stock of what they are and how you’d like them dealt with in the event of your death. This process can prevent legal bills and emotionally driven infighting amongst your family.
2. Clarify Your Medical Preferences
Deciding on your advance directives in the case of your incapacitation may be one of the most disconcerting processes on this list, but it is also the most necessary. Too fewmanage to prepare for the inevitable in this fashion.
Establishing your wishes related to Do Not Resuscitate/ Do Not Intubate (DNR/DNI) preferences removes the pain of making mortal decisions out of your next of kin’s hands. If you feel this paperwork does not adequately allow for all possible scenarios, discuss the nuances of your preference with a trusted friend or family member before granting them medical power of attorney.
3. Decide How You’d Like To Be Laid to Rest
It would help if you gave some thought to how you would like your remains to be handled. Whether there’s a family plot you’d like to use or if you’d like to have your ashes spread in a beloved area, ensuring your preferences are written down and notarized is the best way to guarantee they are followed through upon.
Discussions with loved ones about how you envision being laid to rest may feel uncomfortable at first. However, when the time comes for them to act upon them, they will have the peace of knowing they’re working under your wishes. This can be cathartic, leading to the beginning of a healing process.
4. Ease the Burden
The combined cost of average funeral and end-of-life expenses can be a financial hardship for many families. One of the best ways to safeguard against this eventuality is to get life insurance as early as possible. Attaining a life insurance policy while as young and healthy as possible can maximize the potential payout for those responsible for your end-of-life process.
The longer you wait to get this crucial insurance, the more you risk paying higher premiums for a lower claim. If you put this off for too long and your health begins to wane, you may not be approved for a life insurance policy at all.
The Importance of Considering the Inconsiderable
Many prefer not to dwell on the concept of death out of fear it will place a pall over their lives while they’re still living. However, taking the time to put our affairs in order so that your loved ones are not without guidance is responsible and also can be therapeutic.
Knowing that our death has not created financial hardship for our family but that they are instead armed with the clarity of our preferences can be a comforting gift, enriching the time we have left with them.