Conversations hovering around life and death are indeed serious conversations. No matter how taboo it is still in India, talking about death and the plans for it is highly important for various reasons.
Rarely are family members up for discussing your end-of-life plans nor are they planning for it. Let us reiterate the necessity that it is important to make end-of-life plans as well as it is important to share those plans with your family.
Sure, it is not going to be one of those topics you’re fond of but you’ll have to swallow it like a pill. Without proper planning, things can get difficult after a certain age, including financial and medical conditions.
In this blog, we’ll talk about what really is end-of-life planning, why is it important and how you can discuss it with your family. Additionally, we got a few important points on what you need for your end-of-life plan as a bonus in this blog. Read on.
What is End-of-Life Planning?
End-of-life planning includes plans about your finances and estate. Your estate is nothing but your empire of assets. With an end-of-life plan, you can document your final wishes officially on paper. Such decisions or wishes may include medical care, funeral expenses, or burial arrangements you’d like and the after plans for your assets when you’d be no more.
Experts highly recommend creating an end-of-life plan while you’re still healthy and young. When the unfortunate happens, having a plan already helps your family by taking a lot of stress away and giving them direction about the next steps.
In other words, an end-of-life plan is not only a plan for your assets but also for your family to help them live their future, securely and happily, even when you’re not around.
Why Should You Have an End-of-Life Plan?
If you’re not a person who believes in planning their days, it’s typical to raise the question of “why” here. However, if you know someone in your network who passed away without an end-of-life plan, it can be an example to answer your question.
Without a proper plan, families, loved ones and even medical professionals find it challenging to arrive at the best decision in the situation. When you have a set plan in place, you can make your decisions, choose your care benefits, allocate your assets, and make decisions about your finances and estate.
Your assets and your family are your biggest possessions and you’ve worked your entire life on them. So, decisions related to them shouldn’t be taken lightly. And hence, you should have an end-of-life plan in place to help yourself as well as your family.
How Can You Discuss End-of-Life Plans with Your Family?
We understand that it can get extremely uncomfortable to discuss end-of-lie plans or even anything remotely related to death for that matter. Family gatherings or conversations can get a lot jolly or even very serious but nobody likes to preferably talk about death plans. This is a topic that upsets them.
More than 90% of people believe in the importance of discussing end-of-life plans with their family and loved ones. So, before you even start such a conversation, you can talk about the importance of planning ahead in life and smoothly swoop in with the topic of end-of-life plans in relation to the former topic of discussion.
Doing so will relay your concerns to the family. Such conversations can be rich and intimate but that’s how family bonds grow stronger and deeper and you know how your loved ones feel and care about you. And another benefit of discussing your plans with your family is that there is transparency and your loved ones need not guess about your wishes after you pass away.
How is Discussing End-of-Life Plans Beneficial for Your Family?
As previously said, end-of-life plans not only benefit you but also your family. When there is a plan in place and your family is aware of it, it makes things like planning for your funeral easier. Another way how it benefits your family is they know how your assets are supposed to be distributed among the beneficiaries. They know your wishes and will act accordingly to honour them.
Your plan will let your family know how you’ve allocated your possessions across different members of the family. This can avoid family conflicts over value, money, or property because everything will be already outlined in your plan.
Additionally, having such information available at the time of need takes the heavy weight of stress away from your loved ones. There will be no questions for any guesswork or confusion. Things are more likely to flow in peace.
BONUS! 5 Documents You Must Have for End-of-Life Plans
Now that you know what’s an end-of-life plan and why you need one, let’s discuss the important documents you need for it.
- Living Will: A living Will takes into account your medical wishes. With this document, your family can honour your choices for you when you won’t be able to voice them out anymore.
- Living Trust: With a living trust, you can segregate the wishes for your assets and finances. This document ensures your choices are fulfilled if and when you become ill or unable to look into your finances. The essentials of this document can be changed in your lifetime as your needs and financial conditions change.
- Power of Attorney (POA): A power of attorney designates a particular person on your behalf to stand behind important decisions concerning medical, legal, financial and business situations. As for medical decisions, you can designate a healthcare POA, healthcare proxy or a durable medical POA.
- Portable Medical Orders (POLST): As the name goes, these are medical documents you can carry along with you when you’re suffering from a serious illness or are unable to relay your wishes yourself. Medical professionals and doctors will follow your POLST and proceed accordingly.
- Last Will and Testament: A Will is a legally recognised document that lists out your wishes regarding how you want to distribute your assets after you pass away. If you have people depending on you, you can designate one among them to care for your assets after you.
There is a lot to consider when it comes to end-of-life plans. So, you can imagine the situation when you don’t have a plan in place when you actually need it. That is why planning ahead of time is necessary. Most wise people prefer establishing a Will for this purpose (out of the five ways listed above) so that all the asset management and distribution can be taken care of via a single document and help all those who depend on you even after you pass away.
Don’t take our word for it, but do think about it!