Much of the end of life planning process is focused on easing the last phase of your life for those closest to you. The loss of a loved one presents a wide range of challenges, including making important decisions at a vulnerable time. It's best to take some of these matters off the table and document your wishes ahead of time. There are many important factors to consider on a final wishes checklist, from medical desires to wills and burial preferences.
Everyone will have a different plan and approach. The idea is to determine what's important to you and find what you want to ensure is handled according to your wishes.
Common end of life decisions to consider include documentation and legal mechanisms like living wills and power of attorney.
Family, loved ones, and dependents are other vital areas to consider. No matter your story, an end of life care plan can help ensure your wishes are fulfilled.
Because end of life planning can be so unique between individuals, the template below will vary. Still, this end of life checklist is a solid foundation, highlighting some of the more commonly considered elements.
Record your wishes for funeral plans and burial arrangements
If you have preferences for your funeral or burial, it's important to document them. If you want to check this item completely off your death plan list, it's possible to make these arrangements with funeral homes far ahead of time. There's also final expense life insurance designed specifically to cover funeral and burial plans.
Compile a list of your assets
Keeping a comprehensive list of your assets can make settling your estate less complicated for your loved ones. Some people choose to assign specific assets to particular beneficiaries. Even if you don't wish to do this, maintaining a list of your assets in one place can help facilitate other parts of your end of life plan.
Form a list of passwords and accounts
You may wish to make arrangements for numerous services, from social media to bank accounts. Social media platforms have varied options for end of life planning. You can often allow them to be continued as a memorial. Bank accounts will need to be closed or maintained by your estate or executors. Keep a file with these and other documents needed for end of life planning.
Form your will
A will is a legal document used to record your wishes and preferences. Two main types of wills are generally considered for these plans.
A living will contains your medical preferences while you're still alive. In these documents, you can include preferences for medical treatments if you're later unconscious or otherwise unable to communicate.
A last will and testament is a more comprehensive will designed to record your wishes and preferences for your estate, person, and beneficiaries. Copies of your will should go into your folder of end of life documents.
Pick a power of attorney
Assigning power of attorney can place another person in the position to make decisions for you if you become unable to do so yourself. This is one of the more impactful end of life choices. Often, this will be someone you trust thoroughly and who is very close to you.
Their role is to execute your wishes to the best of their ability and discernment, so be intentional about whom you select. Power of attorney can be assigned with different levels and specialties of control on your behalf.
Whether you need online life insurance will depend on many variables. In the end, it's a personal decision. People primarily purchase plans through Ethos to ensure their financial wishes or goals are fulfilled through a good life insurance plan.
One helpful way to think about it is to assess the difference between your long-term financial goals and needs compared to your current finances. If your income were to disappear, how far from your goals would you be? That potential gap is a significant part of what life insurance policies can fill in.
Still, there are more specific variables worth considering. Chief among these is often debt. Living with high levels of debt can be somewhat offset with a life insurance plan. This way, the policy payout can be paid toward the debt to reduce its impact upon the estate.