An End of Life Plan is planning for the time when your family member dies. It is having together in a safe place all the needed legal documents to ensure that his or her wishes are honored. It is knowing what those wishes are and how to make them happen. Having an End of Life Plan will make the transition period from life to death go more smoothly and peacefully.
You begin with talking to your family member about what they want in the way of care and what type of remembrance they want when they die. This can be hard but it doesn't have to be.
Then you write down all the pertinent information. Then you secure appropriate legal documents to ensure that the stated wishes can be carried out. And, you compile needed information in a single secure location.
- Advanced Instruction for Mental Health Treatment
- Before I Go, You Should Know Kit
- Checklist for When a Person Dies
- Durable Power of Attorney
- Funeral and Burial Plan
- Good to Go Resources and Facts
- Healthcare Power of Attorney
- List of End of Life Discussions Conducted
- List of Pertinent Contacts
- Living Will
- Medical Information
- Miscellaneous Information, Including Assets and Debts
- Organ Donation Information
- Psychiatric Advanced Directive
- Vital Records
- Your Way Workbook
Remember as you plan that, if your family member has pets, a clear plan must be in place for them as well. Decide who will care for them. Consider setting aside a portion of the estate for their care. They give love and devotion and they deserve the same from their "family".
If you have all this information in a secure and easy to access location, you will save a lot of agony and feelings of being overwhelmed when the actual time of death occurs. Prepare now so you can enjoy the time you have left with your family member.
Please note a caveat with putting the information in a safe deposit box. In some states, the box will be frozen at the time of death. In others, you may access the contents with a bank official present to inventory the documents you take. Find out what the procedures are in your state by asking your bank. Then, you can decide the best location for the plan. Also note, that the plan includes lists of very personal information that could be used inappropriately in the wrong hands. Make sure you safeguard the information properly.
Just like you check your smoke detector yearly when we switch off daylight savings time, check your family member's End of Life Plan at the same time. It shouldn't take long and vital information may have changed. If you don't have updated information at the time of death, you are not much better off than you were before you went to the trouble to put the plan together. Take a few minutes to save yourself valuable time later when you won't have time to give.
Remember, the only way to help to ensure that your choices are honored is to make sure everyone knows what they are - your physician, your health care providers, your family, your friends, your faith provider, and your attorney if you have one.
For some, the process of compiling these documents will be stressful. Family dynamics, limited time, the difficult nature of the discussions needed - all these and more can keep families from making an End of Life Plan.
If you need someone to help you, there is help available. It may be available from a variety of sources depending upon your situation and where you live. Use the links below to find out who provides personalized help in your area.
|Locate Your Area Agency on Aging|
|Locate Your Regional Caregiver Specialist|
|Locate Help in North Carolina|