A topic that is often not discussed enough is end-of-life planning. It is important for everyone to acknowledge the inevitability and finality of death and to make plans accordingly. It is best to do this well in advance of an impending need for the plans. If you are healthy and well there may seem to be no sense of urgency, but illness and tragedy can strike quickly and may leave your loved ones with the responsibility of making difficult decisions in an emotional time. Whether you are planning for yourself or a loved one, NeedyMeds has developed a resource for those going through end-of-life planning. PlanForPassingOn.org aims to explain the complicated and arduous process and multiple options of settling your affairs (or the affairs of a loved one if they are unable).
Few people actually discuss death and dying with their families, even if you or someone in your family is approaching the end of their life. Although 95% of people surveyed say that they’re willing or want to talk about end-of-life issues and 70% respond saying it is a good idea, only about 30% report following through. Because of this, there are many tasks and details people are unaware of or overlook due to grief or illness. Plan For Passing On wants to take the surprises and guesswork out of end-of-life planning by providing comprehensive sections on:
Whether you’ve been diagnosed with a terminal illness, are making plans for a loved one, or just want to have peace of mind that your wishes are known and ready to be carried out when the time comes, Plan For Passing On’s goal is to simplify the often difficult process.
For those just beginning, there are important aspects of planning for the end-of-life to consider:
With preparation these personal, financial, and estate transitioning issues can be easily managed when the time comes. While you can find information on end-of-life planning from PlanForPassingOn.org and other sources, your situation may be too complex to plan everything alone. In all but the simplest of estates, seeking an attorney with an expertise in estate planning or other professional can help manage finances, find additional ways to reduce income and/or estate taxes, and ensure all the paperwork is in order — especially if there is a concern for time due to a serious illness or disability.
The first step in end-of-life planning is itemizing your assets (personal property, real estate, bank accounts/safety deposit boxes, investments/retirement accounts, etc.), liabilities (any outstanding debts, recurring bills, estimated tax payments, etc.), and important documents (life insurance, tax returns, bank/investment statements, leases/mortgages, advance directives, etc.). Having these listed and organized helps determine what remaining tasks need to be completed, including a will or living trust, power of attorney, and/or healthcare proxy.
It is equally important to consider where you will be keeping the details of your end-of-life plan. Documents itemizing everything that needs to be attended to after your death must be securely and safely stored so it will be accessible when your trustee, executor, beneficiaries, or other agents need it and organized so it is easily understood and can be used effectively. Whether it is physical documents or digital files, it has to be in a place where everything is together, readily accessible, and can remain secure and safe.
For more information on end-of-life planning, visit PlanForPassingOn.org.