End-of-life Planning: A Checklist
End-of-life Planning: A Checklist You likely don’t want to think about your final days, but planning for them now is helpful to those who love and care for you.

You likely don’t want to think about your final days, but planning for them now is helpful to those who love and care for you. It also helps make sure that they will know and respect your wishes.

Here are questions to ask yourself as you plan for issues faced at the end of life.

Your health care

  • Who would be your pick to make health care choices for you if you were not able to do so?
  • Have you talked with your doctor about end-of-life care?
  • What treatments would you want to have if you were very ill? Are there any you would not accept?
  • Would you want to be resuscitated if you stop breathing or your heart stops?
  • Do you want to be at home, in a hospital or somewhere else, such as a hospice facility, at the end of your life?
  • Do you have a living will spelling out your wishes for end-of-life health care?

Your finances

  • Have you given a trusted friend or family member durable power of attorney, to pay bills and make financial choices on your behalf if you are unable to do so?
  • Do you have an up-to-date list of all your assets and debts?
  • Does the person you have chosen to make financial choices have access to your bank and investment accounts?
  • Does he know where to find all your legal papers such as your birth certificate, will, living will and advance directive? Does he have a copy of your safe deposit key?
  • Are your assets titled so that they will be dispersed after your death in the way you wish? Have you talked with an accountant or lawyer to make sure of this?
  • Do beneficiaries of your pension(s), retirement accounts [such as 401(k)s and IRAs], Social Security and life insurance policies have the facts they need to claim their benefits?

Your family and estate

  • Is your will up-to-date, reflecting your wishes now?
  • Have you chosen an executor who is honest and able to deal with legal and financial matters?
  • Does this person have all the facts she needs to settle your estate?
  • If you have minor children, have you chosen a guardian?
  • If you have a child with special needs, have you arranged for her care after you're gone?
  • Have you talked with a lawyer about setting up a living trust to avoid probate?
  • Have your children agreed about who gets what objects of special concern to them — furniture, mementos, heirlooms?

Your peace of mind

  • Have you made plans for your funeral? If so, have you put your plans and preferences in writing?
  • Do you have “unfinished business” in your relationships, such as rifts that you would like to mend with friends or relatives?
  • Is there something that you need to say or write down, so that future generations will know you better?
  • Do you need to talk with a clergy member or counselor to get answers to questions about death?
  • Do you need someone to help you with spiritual concerns?

By Tom Gray
©2012 Achieve Solutions