Thinking about one’s mortality is a real issue. Sooner or later your family will need to address both the tangible and intangible left after death. Discuss now to avoid later surprises.

What Will You Do?

Everyone should have a will, regardless of income or social status. Your valuables need to be protected by legal documents.

Where’s the Stuff?

Have you ever had to look for something without a clue as to where it could possibly be? Imagine needing to perform a search while your life is in upheaval. Keep all important documents in a safe place. Empower key people to know where legal and financial documents are stored. Place papers in a safe deposit box or a water and fireproof security box. Tell a trusted family member, representative or executor where the key is located or give them a second key.

To Be or Not to Be; That is the Question

Estate planning should express health directives. An advanced medical directive or living will provides guidance to loved ones at a difficult and emotional time. Complete health directives and be confident they are accessible and understood by your representative. Be clear on your desires. Revisit documents from time to time to be confident of their relevancy. Having such a conversation with those who are important may be uncomfortable but is necessary to avoid pain and confusion at the end of life. Discussing wishes with family members while you are able will be appreciated at a later time.

You Have the Power

Designate a healthcare power of attorney. Should you be unable to speak or express your healthcare wishes a designated Healthcare Power of Attorney would represent you. Share personal preferences for doctors, hospitals and other services. Making decisions now defines the future of your care.

Similar to a Health Care Power of Attorney is a Durable Power of Attorney. Financial and legal decisions are made by the Durable Power of Attorney. Paying bills, transferring accounts and other financial transactions are done according to your wishes. The importance of having both types of representation is paramount.

The Final Farewell

Planning a funeral for yourself should not be considered unpleasant but a gift to those you love. Doing so helps survivors manage grief and prevents family rifts at a very emotional time.

Knowing Dad’s favorite verse, Mom’s “go to” hymn, the style and cost of a coffin and headstone, even cremation or burial is confirmation of a legacy. Express your wishes. Taking the initiative to do so relieves loved ones of a heavy responsibility both emotionally and financially. End of Life decisions are truly a gift.