Your Final Gift: A Checklist for End-of-Life Planning

Your Final Gift: A Checklist for End-of-Life Planning

Peace of mind is a final gift you can give your loved ones—affording them the knowledge of your end-of-life wishes. Creating a plan for your loved ones when you die is an essential part of responsible financial and personal planning. Taking the time now to thoughtfully plan and help ease what could be tough decisions can lessen the burden on those you leave behind. It ensures that your affairs are in order, your loved ones are taken care of, and your wishes are respected. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you create such a plan:

  1. Compile Important Documents: Gather all your important documents, such as your will, insurance policies, financial account information, property deeds, and any legal documents. Make sure your loved ones know where to find these documents.
  2. Create a Will: A will is a legal document that outlines how your assets should be distributed after your death. If you have dependents, it’s essential to name a guardian for them in your will. Consult an attorney to ensure your will is legally binding and accurate.
  3. Name an Executor: Appoint an executor in your will or through a separate document. This person will be responsible for carrying out your wishes, including distributing assets, paying debts, and handling other administrative tasks.
  4. Life Insurance: Review your life insurance policies to ensure they provide adequate coverage for your family. Make sure your beneficiaries are up to date.
  5. List of Assets and Debts: Create a comprehensive list of your assets and debts, including bank accounts, investments, real estate, and loans. This list will help your executor settle your estate.
  6. Digital Assets: Make a list of your digital assets, such as social media accounts, email accounts, and online financial accounts. Provide instructions on how you want these to be managed or closed.
  7. Funeral and Burial Preferences: Outline your preferences for your funeral or memorial service, burial or cremation, and any specific wishes you may have regarding your final arrangements.
  8. Financial Planning: Consult a financial advisor to help your loved ones manage your financial affairs, including accessing funds, paying bills, and dealing with taxes.
  9. Advance Healthcare Directive and Power of Attorney: Create an advance healthcare directive to specify your medical preferences in case you become incapacitated. Appoint a healthcare proxy to make decisions on your behalf. Also, establish a durable power of attorney to handle financial matters if you become unable to do so.
  10. Letter of Instruction: Write a letter to your loved ones with personal instructions, such as the location of important documents, sentimental items, and any final messages you’d like to convey.
  11. Organ Donor Preferences: If you wish to be an organ donor, make your preferences known and consider registering with a relevant organization.
  12. Review and Update Regularly: Your plan should be periodically reviewed and updated as circumstances change, such as marriages, divorces, births, deaths, or significant changes in assets.
  13. Communicate Your Plan: Share your plan with your loved ones and the individuals who will be involved in executing it. Make sure they know where to find important documents and how to access your digital accounts.
  14. Consult Professionals: Seek the advice of an attorney, financial advisor, or estate planner to ensure your plan is legally sound and addresses all relevant aspects.
  15. Secure Safe Storage: Store your important documents and information in a secure place, such as a safe deposit box or a trusted digital repository, and ensure your loved ones know how to access them.

Remember that creating a plan for your loved ones when you die is not a one-time task but an ongoing process. Regularly update your plan to reflect your changing circumstances and wishes. This proactive approach will help provide peace of mind to you and your loved ones.

Here to Support You

While none of us like to think about dying, not creating a plan for your end-of-life wishes can result in a burden to your family and friends or your intentions not being followed after you pass. A financial advisor can be an invaluable resource when creating a comprehensive end of life plan. Schedule a free introductory call with Uncommon Cents Investing today!


More About the Author: Sheena Hanson