End-of-life discussions are difficult. They are also crucial. The decisions you make during this time ease the burden on your loved ones after your passing and ensure your wishes are fully documented.
It goes beyond the legal aspects of wills and estates. What you leave behind reflects your personal values and hopes for the family and friends you leave behind.
Conversation about end-of-life planning scares some people enough to avoid it completely. The challenge is often not going through the steps, but just initiating the process. There are actions you can take prior to broaching the topic with those closest to you.
- Gather necessary documents. If you have already prepared a last will and testament or have a living will, make sure it is up to date. If you are just beginning this process, you will need to assemble your end of life planning documents, make a list of all important assets and what you want to happen with these after your death, and have hard copy of your bank and investment statements as well as your life insurance.
- Determine what you would like to happen to your body after death. There are many options including traditional burial, cremation, whole body donation and more. This decision is based on several factors including your personal beliefs, traditions and budget. Many people have not considered donating their body to science. It is a benevolent gift that expresses your philanthropic values, so make it a part of your conversation.
- Decide which individuals will be your healthcare proxy and executor. Your proxy can talk with your physicians, access your medical records, and make decisions about medical testing and procedures. You cannot overestimate the importance of choosing a proxy. Many individuals are unable to make decisions for themselves. Make sure you chose someone you trust to speak for you in case you are unable to speak for yourself. An executor should be a responsible person in good financial standing. Consider someone who does not have a direct financial interest in your estate.
When you are prepared for the tough end-of-life discussion, you gain the confidence to have an open and honest conversation with your family. Be sure to make direct eye contact and answer questions your loved ones may have. Be firm in relaying your decisions, but also give them time to understand that you have thought about this and are at peace with your decisions. You might want to involve your family early in the decision making process, especially if you are considering an alternative option such as whole body donation.
St. Louis Body Donation provides an important and thoughtful service to St. Louis and surrounding communities. We are ready to answer your questions about body donation or body donation transportation. Call our team in St. Louis at 314-252-0462 and we’ll walk you through the process and answer your questions.