The answer to that question is: very few people. We seem to be okay with planning a club meeting, or a vacation, or even tonight’s dinner. Well, end-of-life planning is just another plan to add to your planning list.
Much of it is quite simple. And planning ahead can save much confusion and agony for your survivors, not to mention saving money as well.
First on the list is your will. Don’t assume that your estate will simply go to the next of kin. Grief can do strange things to people—family feuds can and do occur following a death. Think of your will as your gift to your loved ones. It can save many months of being stalled out in probate court.
A living will (or sometimes called an advanced directive) relays your wishes in case you become incapacitated. Are there measures that might be taken to keep you alive that you would want to refuse? Then get it down in writing.
No one wants to think of being unable to manage for ourselves. But why not have a power of attorney in effect ahead of time, just in case. This will be a trusted person to manage your affairs. What peace of mind this affords for all who are affected.
Last, but not least, what wishes do you have for your funeral (or memorial service)? This can be contained within your will. Just make sure all details are included so no one has to guess or assume.
When you stop and think about it, these directives aren’t just for the over-sixty bunch. This applies to all ages. So, once you’ve taken care of all your legal matters, urge your children and grandchildren to do the same!