Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Final, Great Gift

Retirement expert John Wasik says that planning for our own death is one of the greatest gifts we can give to our loved ones [bold added]:
death planning will not only allow you to plan a dignified, meaningful and even splashy exit, but will provide guidance for those attending to your last moments and beyond. [snip]

Your written directions [resuscitation, organ donation, etc.] need to be as specific as possible and not stored with your estate planning materials; if they were, interested parties might not see them until well after your death. Let loved ones, friends or your trusted professionals know where your final intentions letter is, or hand out copies. Having them read and review it long before your death is also a good idea. [snip]

One cudgel to employ in having your intentions honored is to have a strong surrogate or family member. Drafting a customized living will and power of attorney is also important. You will need a strong advocate for your final wishes. [snip]

In the written directions you provide your family, you may also want to include grave site or mortuary information, funeral directions and provisions on how you want to pay for your memorial. Do you want specific music played or pictures displayed? Are there past events or accomplishments you want your survivors to remember?
The Internet has made death planning easier, with numerous sites that offer planning templates. My Directives and Best Endings have advance medical directive forms; Get Your Shit Together provides useful information (and may shock some into action by its title). Perhaps the most extensive is Everplans, which I am hesitant to trust because it is too comprehensive.

Your humble observer always packs for trips at the last minute and has done very little in the way of death planning. However, he is running out of excuses.

The scope of Everplans

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