No one likes to think about their own mortality, but the truth is that no one is immune to death. While it’s impossible to predict when or how you will pass, there are some steps you can take to make the process easier for your loved ones. End of life planning is a comprehensive way to prepare for the inevitable, and it can provide peace of mind for both you and your family. Here are some tips to help you get started.
Write a Will
One of the most important things you can do is write a will. This document will outline your wishes for how your assets should be distributed after you die. Without a will, your family may have to go through the costly and time-consuming process of probate, which can be avoided with proper planning.
If you have minor children, you should also appoint a guardian in your will. If something happens to you and your spouse, this person will be responsible for raising your children. You can write a will on your own, but it’s always best to consult with an attorney to ensure it’s properly executed. If you’re under 40 and don’t already have a will, now is the time to get one.
Make a Living Will
A living will is a document that outlines your wishes for end-of-life medical care. This can include things like whether you want to be resuscitated or placed on life support. Having these conversations with your family and your doctor is important, so everyone is on the same page about your wishes.
In some states, you can appoint a healthcare proxy who will make decisions on your behalf if you cannot do so. This person should be someone you trust implicitly and who knows your wishes for end-of-life care. Making a living will is one of the most important things you can do to prepare for the end of your life.
Plan for Medical Expenses
According to a recent poll, approximately 8.3% of adults went without medical treatment because of the steep cost. Medical expenses can quickly add up, especially if you have a chronic illness or are facing a terminal diagnosis. It’s important to plan for these expenses in advance so that your family isn’t left with a huge financial burden. There are a few ways to do this, including purchasing long-term care insurance or joining the Medicare program.
For those with a life insurance policy, you can also designate it as a payer of last resort for medical expenses. This way, your family won’t have to use other assets to pay for your care. Planning for medical expenses is an important part of end-of-life planning, and it can give you and your family peace of mind.
Create a Trust
A trust is a legal entity that can hold assets on behalf of another person. This can be used to protect your assets from probate or to provide for a loved one after you die. Trusts can be revocable or irrevocable and can be created during your lifetime or after your death. If you’re thinking about creating a trust, it’s important to consult with an attorney. This is because trusts can be complex legal documents, and you want to ensure everything is done correctly.
Keep Updating Your Plans
Your end-of-life plans should be fluid and flexible, as they will likely change over time. As your life changes, so too should your plans. For example, unless you have experienced major life changes, such as marriage or relocation, it’s advisable to update your estate plan every five years.
It’s also important to keep your plans up-to-date if you have a change in health. If you develop a chronic illness or are diagnosed with a terminal illness, you may want to make changes to your plans. Updating your plans regularly is the best way to ensure that they remain accurate and reflect your wishes.
Making end-of-life plans is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your family. There are a few key things to consider, including your will, medical expenses, and trusts. It’s also important to keep your plans up-to-date as your life changes. By taking the time to plan for the end of your life, you can give yourself and your loved ones some peace of mind.