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Planning for Death: Steps to take. Depicted by a family gathered around an elderly man in a hospital bed

The Importance of Planning for Death

Planning for death can give you a sense of control and peace of mind. By taking the time to plan for your end-of-life care and what will happen after you pass away, you can ensure that your wishes are respected. Careful planning assures that your loved ones are not left with difficult decisions to make during a challenging time. It’s important to remember that death is a natural part of life, and accepting it can allow you to focus on making the most of your remaining time with your loved ones. Preparing for death can ultimately provide a sense of closure and a final say in how you want to be remembered.

Estate Planning Documents are Crucial

Here are a few ways that estate planning documents can help you plan for death:

Creating a Will

A will is a legal document that outlines how your assets will be distributed after your death. It is essential to have a will in place to ensure that your wishes are carried out.

Designating Beneficiaries

In addition to a will, you should also designate beneficiaries for any accounts or policies that have a beneficiary designation. This includes life insurance policies, retirement accounts, and bank accounts.

Advance Healthcare Directives

Advance healthcare directives, such as a living will or healthcare power of attorney, allow you to specify your wishes regarding medical treatment if you become incapacitated and cannot make decisions for yourself.

Funeral Planning

Funeral planning involves making arrangements for your funeral or memorial service. This includes choosing a funeral home, deciding on burial or cremation, and outlining any specific requests you may have.

7 Steps to Make the Process Easier

Planning for death can be a daunting task, but there are 7 steps you can take to make the process easier:

1. Start Early

The earlier you start planning, the more time you’ll have to consider your options and make informed decisions.

2. Get Professional Help

Consider working with a financial planner, estate planning attorney, or other professional to help you navigate the process.

3. Communicate with Your Loved Ones

It’s important to communicate your wishes with your loved ones and make sure they understand your intentions.

4. Review and Update Your Plan

As your life changes, it’s important to review and update your plan to ensure that it still reflects your wishes.

5. Keep Your Plan in a Safe Place

Once you have a plan in place, make sure to keep it in a safe place and let your loved ones know where to find it.

6. Register Your Documents in National Registry

Registering in The U.S. Will Registry is a free service that can help your family find your important documents in the event of your death or incapacitation.

7. Store Your Documents in iCloud

Another way to securely store your important documents is through SideDrawer.com iCloud service. Storing your documents in the cloud ensures that they will not go missing or be destroyed in a natural disaster or other unexpected event.

Planning for Death Includes Have Conversations with Your Family

Most people prefer to avoid discussing death, but it’s an important topic that should not be overlooked. Putting off planning until it’s too late can leave loved ones with confusion and disagreements. To avoid this, it’s important to have open conversations with family members about your end-of-life wishes. You should express how you want to be cared for, where you would like to receive care, and what you would like done after your passing. These conversations may be difficult, but they are valuable for both you and your loved ones.

What Should You Discuss with Your Family?

When having conversations about your end-of-life wishes, there are a few important topics to cover. These include:

How You Want to Be Cared for

Discuss with your family where you would like to receive care and who you would like to be involved in your care. It’s important to express what type of care you want to receive, whether it’s at home, in a hospice facility, or in a hospital. Having a Living Will is essential to ensure your wishes are respected.

Your DNR Request

Let your family know your wishes regarding CPR in case your heart stops beating or you stop breathing. A Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) is a legal document that outlines your preference not to receive CPR. Discussing your DNR request with your family is crucial.

Your End-of-Life Wishes

This includes discussions about what kind of funeral or memorial service you would like, who you would like to attend, and any other preferences you may have.

Important Documents

You should discuss your will, power of attorney, advance directive, and funeral arrangements with your family. Make sure they know where to find these documents and how to access them to avoid confusion and potential disagreements.

How to Start the Conversation

Starting a conversation about your end-of-life wishes can be challenging.  It’s important to remember that it’s never too early to start planning. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

Pick the Right Time

Choose a time when everyone is relaxed and there are no distractions. Make sure you have plenty of time to talk.

Be Honest

It’s important to be honest about your wishes and your concerns. Let your loved ones know what’s important to you and why.


Make sure you listen to your loved ones’ concerns and wishes as well. This conversation should be a two-way street.


Planning for death is a difficult topic, but it’s an important one. Having conversations with your family about your end-of-life wishes can ensure that your wishes are known and respected. Open discussions alleviate the burden of decision-making for your loved ones. When having these conversations, it’s important to approach the topic with sensitivity and empathy. The idea of discussing death and end-of-life decisions can be uncomfortable for most people, but it’s important to remember that these conversations can provide a sense of peace and comfort for both you and your loved ones.

It’s also important to be clear and specific about your wishes. This can help avoid confusion and potential disagreements among family members when it comes time to make decisions. Be sure to discuss where you would like to receive care and what type of care you want to receive. It’s also important to discuss any religious or cultural beliefs that may impact your end-of-life care.

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