Planning ahead

Screenshot 2022-06-10 110356

Planning ahead

When it comes to end-of-life planning, we know it is essential to plan ahead of time. Medical Social Worker Chew Li Sien from Dover Park Hospice shares how you can start planning with an End-of-Life Planning Checklist.

Death can be a complex topic, and conversations about end-of-life planning remain a taboo. However, planning is essential as it allows you to decide how you wish to be honoured at the end of your life.

Personal Data and Documents
Compile login information such as user IDs and passwords to your devices and communication accounts, such as:
• Smartphones
• Tablets
• Computers
• Emails
• Social media accounts

You may also want to think about what you would like to do with your social media accounts, and how you might want to be represented after your passing.
Besides passwords to devices and communication accounts, it is advisable to document bank account information, such as:
• PIN numbers
• Internet banking user IDs and passwords
• Safe-deposit box locations, if applicable

Also consider compiling a list of all insurance policies and related beneficiaries, information on funeral plans, pre-paid burial plot or niche, if applicable. You may also want to use password management software such as LastPass to facilitate transfer of information to a trusted family member or friend.

Completing this checklist would provide peace of mind for you and your loved ones, and eliminate the need for your trusted family or friend to hunt for your information, allowing them more ease in executing your final wishes.

You may want to identify the location of any cash that is stored for emergencies and provide instructions on how you may want to allocate or use the money. Creating a “Where to Find” list to document the location of essential things could allow your trusted family member or friend to easily access important information or items, which could include:
• Deed to the house
• Car keys
• Credit and ATM cards

If you have designated significant items to give away to specific individuals, do consider doing so as soon as possible instead of detailing them in your will. For sensitive items that you do not wish others to find, you may want to consider discarding them or provide instructions on how to dispose of them. An example could be getting a trusted personal friend to discard your journals.

Healthcare Planning and Directives
Creating an Advance Care Plan (ACP) is essential as it allows you to communicate your care preferences and goals through a series of voluntary, non-legally binding conversations with your loved ones and a qualified ACP facilitator. The ACP serves as a guide for your loved ones and healthcare team so that they can make decisions according to your wishes in the event that you are no longer able to make your own decision due to loss of mental capacity.

Through the conversations, you will be guided to understand, reflect upon and discuss your goals, values and beliefs regarding future healthcare treatments and care options. Once the ACP is completed, copies should be made and passed to healthcare providers and your trusted loved ones. On the other hand, if you have made an Advance Medical Directive (AMD), it is advisable to keep your trusted loved ones informed as well. This legal document serves to inform the healthcare team that you do not want to be on any form of life-sustaining treatment for the purpose of artificially prolonging your life when death is imminent.
Both ACP and AMD can be done at the same time.

Planning Your Legacy
This part involves putting down instructions for final disposition, such as:
• Writing your obituary
• Planning your funeral or remembrance ceremony
• Leaving a message for loved ones

As a start, you could consider writing your obituary, as it will allow you to decide how you wish to be remembered. It could include noting down your instructions for final disposition, such as your preference to be buried or cremated, and your preferred resting place.

In addition, you could consider planning how you wish to conduct your funeral or remembrance ceremony, for example who you would like to speak or give the eulogy at your funeral, and what music or decorations you would like to have. It is good to pen your thoughts and share your preferences with your trusted family or friend.

Lastly, if you have any messages for your loved ones, you can consider doing so through letter, video or other ways which will be meaningful to the recipient.

Once you have planned and compiled the necessary information, you may want to print a copy for safekeeping with vital records in an accessible location.

Completing this checklist would provide peace of mind for you and your loved ones, and eliminate the need for your trusted family or friend to hunt for your information, allowing them more ease in executing your final wishes.

Image: Shutterstock.com

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