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Practical end of life planning is a necessity for everyone. Yet it remains a subject that most people do not think about nor discuss with family or friends. So why not think of it as practical preparedness instead? If there is no clear plan that details the practical aspects of your life, those left behind will be in for an even more difficult time after your death.
This post looks at why practical end of life planning is so important for everyone. It considers how being practically prepared now, can be a very helpful future gift to your loved ones.
Why do I need to plan now for the end of my life?
At any stage of life, you should have certain arrangements in place. Crucial documents should be created and finalised to ensure your legal, financial and medical affairs are in order. When you think of end of life planning, the most obvious documents that spring to mind are wills and trusts, estate plans, future medical care plans, advanced directives and a lasting power of attorney. These are vital to ensure others know your true wishes for both your future care needs and what should happen to your estate after your death.
Life however does not stop there. Consider your day to day life. What about all the finite details that represent you, your life, your family and household situation. If someone had to immediately deal with your life due to an emergency or death – where would they begin? Is there someone that actually knows where all of your practical life information is? And more importantly, how to access these details and start to deal with matters?
In truth, most people may say that someone would have a rough idea. If someone did have to act on your behalf in such a situation, they will probably be under an incredible amount of stress. The thought of having to quickly locate information and deal with issues will add further pressure to them. So maybe you need to make a more definite plan rather than someone just having a ‘rough’ idea.
What practical plans do I need to put in place?
Start by breaking down each part of your life into key areas. Then take each area in turn and think about the detail that sits inside each of those areas.
Consider the below list of areas of practical life. Where is your important paperwork and practical instructions for each of these areas? Think of how organising this could help someone deal with your life if you were unable to.
Why is being practically prepared important?
If looking at this list, you feel overwhelmed at the volume of practical detail that makes up your life – consider the challenge this would present to others. As people do not talk about end of life practicalities and what is needed after a death, there is a realisation of the enormity of this task when death occurs. Bereaved people often reflect on how difficult and lengthy the process is to resolve the practical matters of the deceased.
If you have a family and life would need to carry on after your death, making full practical plans can help minimise any practical disruption after death. Having a clear and detailed plan of where your family and household information is located, can help make the process smoother.
Dealing with practical arrangements on behalf of a relative or someone that you didn’t live with, will be even harder. The chances of you having 100% up to date knowledge of all aspects of their life may be slim. Think of all the information you will need to gather before you can begin to unravel their life. Factor in any additional obstacles such as living far away from the deceased or if you were estranged from them. This will present even more challenges and hurdles to overcome after a death.
How can practical end of life planning help others?
Whatever your circumstances, making clear and detailed practical plans throughout life can really help others one day. Organising your life information, making sure it can be easily located when it is needed, will be a real gift to others in the future.
When your practical life is mapped out, it can provide others with a clear road map should they need to deal with your affairs in an emergency or death. You do not need to share any information that you are not comfortable with. Just provide a simple outline of where this useful information can be found when it is needed.
Provide clarity by making your future wishes known now. Reassure your loved ones by clearly documenting your final wishes. This can help alleviate some of the pressure in the immediate days after a death. If they have clear instructions about your final requests, they can have peace of mind knowing they are honouring your life as you wanted.
The weeks and months that follow a death is usually a mountain of administrative tasks and practical hurdles. Each one takes time and will need to be worked through by others. If you have a practical end of life plan ready, you can help others more smoothly work through these tasks.
How can I make a practical end of life plan?
Life is complicated and you will not be able to create a whole plan in one day. Our resources provide a structured approach to end of life planning. It provides prompts to get you thinking about the plans and arrangements you need to put in place.
The Sunset Plan has a secure digital vault service to help you get organised. This easy to use system breaks down each area of life that needs to be planned for. By making this a more manageable and guided activity, this will not be such an overwhelming and gloomy process.
As you create your Sunset Plan, you may find that you do not have certain key documents in place such as a will or financial/legal arrangements. This process may give you that nudge to get some of these important tasks crossed off your To-Do list.
Get started and create your Sunset Plan today
The Sunset Plan has digital and physical products available, to provide structure when making practical end of life plans. Do not think of it as planning for the end – but as being practically prepared for any life event.
If after reading this you can think of a loved one that could use some help in getting organised, why not help them get started with their practical life planning? It could be a gentle start to helping them plan ahead. Ultimately this may help you deal with their affairs more smoothly one day
Why not share this post on social media? Encourage others to create their own practical life plan and be prepared for whatever the future brings.