End-of-life planning is a crucial aspect of ensuring your final wishes are honored and easing the burden on your loved ones during an emotionally challenging time. By taking proactive steps and communicating openly, you can bring peace of mind and create a meaningful legacy. Here are a dozen reminders of things to consider:
1. Create a Will and Estate Plan. Draft a comprehensive will and establish an estate plan to ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes and minimize potential legal complexities for your loved ones. If you have a plan, periodically review and update your documents to reflect any new wishes or changes in your family dynamic. If appropriate, make sure beneficiaries understand the reasoning behind certain decisions, to prioritize family harmony and minimize splintering of relationships.
2. Appoint a Power of Attorney for Healthcare. Designate a trusted person to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become unable to communicate your preferences. Ensure they are aware of your values and healthcare preferences.
3. Appoint a Power of Attorney for Finances. Designate a trusted person to carry out your financial affairs on your behalf if you are unable. Ensure they are aware of accounts and passwords.
4. Consider Advance Directives. Prepare advance directives, also called living wills, to outline your medical treatment preferences and end-of-life care choices.
5. Organize Important Documents. Compile essential documents, including financial records, insurance policies, and legal documents, in one accessible location, making it easier for your loved ones to handle affairs when needed. These records could be held securely online – though make sure necessary parties are aware of the location and ways to access.
6. Don’t Forget Digital Assets and Passwords. Make a list of your digital assets, such as online accounts and passwords, and store it securely. Provide access information to a trusted individual to manage these accounts if you become unable or after your death.
7. Review Beneficiary Designations. Periodically review and update beneficiary designations on retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and other assets to ensure they align with your current intentions.
8. Plan for Funeral and Burial. Consider pre-arranging your funeral or burial preferences, as it can ease the burden on your loved ones and ensure your final arrangements align with your wishes.
9. Address Outstanding Debts: Make arrangements to settle any outstanding debts or financial obligations, minimizing potential stress and complications for your family after your passing.
10. Leave a Personal Legacy. If desired, leave behind a personal legacy by sharing your life stories, values, and personal experiences through written or recorded memoirs, preserving your memories for future generations.
11. Communicate Your Wishes. Have open conversations with your family and loved ones about your end-of-life wishes, including your preferences for medical care and funeral arrangements, to avoid uncertainty and misunderstanding. What are your own beliefs about palliative and hospice care? What does death with dignity mean to you? The organization, End of Life Washington, provides a number of resources to help you become better educated for death with choice
12. Seek Legal and Financial Guidance. Consult with attorneys and financial advisors who specialize in end-of-life planning to ensure your affairs are in order and that your decisions are legally and financially sound.
When it comes to end-of-life planning, err on the side of open communication and sharing of your wishes, as this will help alleviate confusion and stress as death approaches and when it arrives.
Disclosure: This material is presented solely for information purposes and has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable, however, Pacific Asset Management cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of such information, and certain information presented here may have been condensed or summarized from its original source. The preceding information is not intended to be tax, legal or accounting advice, and nothing contained in these materials should be relied upon as such. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. Nothing in this presentation in intended to serve as personalized investment, tax, or insurance advice, as such advice depends on your individual facts and circumstances. Advisory services are only offered to clients or prospective clients where Pacific Asset Management and its representatives are properly licensed or exempt from licensure. No advice may be rendered by Pacific Asset Management unless a client service agreement is in place.