How to Prepare Yourself for Death

Do You Know How To Prepare For Death

To prepare for death spiritually is vital, since death is inevitable. So who is a terminally ill person? A terminally ill person is sometimes defined to be anyone who has 6 months or less to live. This guide to dying for the terminally ill is especially for such people, but not limited to only such terminally ill people! In truth, it is relevant for all people,terminal illness prepare for deathhealthiest

Allow Yourself to Grieve

When an individual receives the diagnosis of a terminal illness, it's normal to have a wide range of emotions and responses. Coping mechanisms, such as denial and anger, may kick in as the individual deals with his or her own grief and the emotions of their loved ones. 

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Remember Your Backup Files

With all these steps taken care of, a good portion of your data should be readily accessible to those you leave behind. However, not every service offers a tidy way of granting access. Remember to include the login information for any backup service you use within an emergency kit. Otherwise, it’s a good idea to get in the habit of saving your work to an external hard drive that your loved ones can easily access.

If you have a Windows PC, there are many methods you can use to save a backup of your most important files. You can use File History in Windows, or Time Machine on a Mac, to make regular backups that can be easily retrieved by your loved ones.

8. Make your funeral wishes known

It might not feel comfortable tackling such a sensitive subject, but it will make a massive difference to your family when the time comes. It may be difficult to get family members to talk about funeral planning, but it’s much better than leaving them to second-guess your wishes.

9. Consider a Bucket List

Many people have heard of bucket lists, but not everyone has one. A bucket list includes activities that you would like to do before your death. Often, this can give you a set of goals to work towards, and events to look forward to.

4. Get a Will

A will is a document that allows you to express where you want your assets to go. This can include the aforementioned savings accounts, as well as any personal belongings and other property. Without a will, your heirs may have to wait a significant amount of time before the estate can be settled. It may also lead family members to argue over who should have what. Much of the disagreement can be settled if a will is available.

Often, a will is also the document that will help determine who will care for any surviving children.

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Financial and Legal Matters

If your loved one is dying at home, you may be able to start gathering documentation that will be needed immediately after your loved one dies. If your loved one is in and out of consciousness, you may need to ask him the whereabouts of some of these items.

5. Find your loved one’s Social Security number

You probably already know most of the vital information that is necessary to report on your parent’s death certificate. Be prepared to supply your parent’s full name, birth date, and address.

You may need to look for your parent’s Social Security number. Look in your parent’s personal papers for that information. Your parent may even carry his or her Social Security cards in a wallet, so check there if you can’t find it anywhere else in the home. 

The Social Security card is not only necessary for the death certificate, but you will also need it after your loved one passes to protect the deceased from identity theft. You will need to contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) immediately after your loved one dies.

The SSA will contact the three major credit bureaus and they will put a flag on your loved one’s Social Security number. This will keep criminals from trying to use your loved one’s identity to open new accounts in his or her name. The SSA will also contact the Internal Revenue Service.

Consider using this time to make sure you know where this information is.

6. Find your parent’s military paperwork

Look for military records if your loved one was a member of the military. It’s important to find the military service records, which could include discharge papers and the Veterans Affairs (VA) claim number.

These documents will be essential to have on hand if your loved one is going to be buried or interred in a military cemetery. These documents will also be necessary if military honors are going to be presented at a military funeral.

7. Think about how you will secure your loved one’s belongings after his or her death

Just as you want to protect your parent from identity theft, you also want to protect the estate from burglary. Unfortunately, criminals look at obituaries to plan burglaries.

As you prepare for the death of your parent, consider what items you should secure. Think about how you will make the home look inhabited. 

8. Contact your employer

If you aren’t already on leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), you may consider filling out the paperwork ASAP.

Even if you feel as if your parent’s death is imminent, no one knows when it will happen. Protect your job by making sure that you’re protected by FMLA or other bereavement leave policies.

6. Writing an emotional will

Getting your estate and health plans in order are great, but what about the squishy, gooey emotional stuff?

An emotional will (no, it doesn't mean crying on the paper) is a non-legal document where you can outline things about you that you want to be passed on.

"It can be ideas, it can be letters, it can be something you want to pass on for your legacy and your stories to go on," Ms Lyons says.

An emotional will can be whatever you want it to be, from passing on your super secret perfect cake recipe, to listing your favourite movies, books, what power tools you've enjoyed using the most, whatever.

4. Consider a funeral plan and life insurance

Making funeral arrangements eases the pressure on your loved ones. It also ensures that your funeral will be a proper reflection of your personality, relationships and beliefs.Taking out a funeral plan has many benefits, including freezing the costs at today’s prices (do check exactly what is covered in the plan) which can save a lot of money, plus makes your wishes clear. A good plan provider will be able to tell you exactly how they ensure that a prepaid funeral plan is safe and will pay for your funeral even many years from now.Another option is to take out a life insurance policy that pays out a cash lump sum on death. This can be used to pay debts, pay off a mortgage, leave a legacy, and pay funeral expenses.There are various types of insurance with different levels of premium and payout so you will need to do some research!

Legacy Considerations

As you sit by the side of your dying parent, consider the legacy they leave behind. Here are some things to think about when preparing for the eventual death of your mom or dad.

12. Pick a nonprofit that will receive the donations collected at the funeral

Ask your parent where they would like charitable donations to go. This charitable organization may be a church, synagogue, or temple. It may be a veterans’ group or civic organization. Your parent may want charitable gifts to go toward finding a cure for a disease.

13. Check your loved one’s belongings for a copy of a will or a trust

For some, the idea of a “legacy” means what they are able to bequeath money to those who they left behind. Ask your parent if he or she has a will or trust.

This may not be the time to discuss the contents of the document, but you may want to locate it.

14. Create a display for the funeral

Perhaps the greatest part of your loved one’s legacy is the large circle of family or friends that will grieve the death of your loved one. Consider making a display of photos for your mom’s or dad’s funeral. This can be DIY-ed or put together with the help of a photo collage frame like this.

Sometimes the greatest legacy one can leave behind is a large family made up of good people who love one another. Celebrate this. 

You may consider sharing photos that you have gathered of your loved one if he or she is able to enjoy the pictures. 

4. Making a medical treatment plan

A 'Do Not Resuscitate' tattoo isn't enough — tell your enduring guardian and everyone what medical treatment you want with an advance care directive, or advance care plan.

Rebecca Lyons is an end-of-life doula and has worked as a funeral director for many years, and she always encourages an advance care directive be filled in.

Advance Care Planning Australia has links and information for how to put in place an advance care directive in each state and territory.

Our How to Prepare for Death Checklist

If you’ve taken care of those documents, then you’

If you’ve taken care of those documents, then you’re well on your way to assembling a comprehensive plan that will leave you with a sincere peace of mind. But you’re not done yet! You still have to take care of three more elements that aren’t necessarily addressed by medical and legal documents.

Estate Plan

In order to have an effective last will and testament, you need to make some preparation before you meet with an attorney. You should make firm decisions about the following aspects of your estate:

  • Executor – who will take care of the terms of your last will and testament
  • Assets – the details of your home, property, auto, etc.
  • Debts, expenses, taxes, etc. – what you owe and anything else that counts against your estate
  • Life Insurance – the terms of monetary remuneration upon your passing
  • Social Security – any and all government benefits and payments
  • Beneficiaries – who receives anything contained in your will or from your life insurance
  • Trusts – any special arrangements you make for minor dependents to receive money, goods, or property upon reaching a certain age or accomplishment

Your attorney will be able to prepare any and all relevant documents about this information, but it’s up to you to decide what happens.

Digital Life

These days, unless you’re an absolute hermit, there is a record of you online. That means you will need help administrating your digital presence after you pass away. While there aren’t any formal documents that help with assembling this information, we recommend starting with the following:

  • Login Details – all of your usernames and passwords for any online portal or service you use
  • Social Media – specific instructions about what should happen to your various profiles
  • E-mail – specific instructions about what to with your account, as this is often a primary point of contact for the many services you use

In short, if you’ve ever set up any sort of profile online for any sort of service, you need to provide specific instructions on what you want to be done with that account. It would help if these instructions are written down and notarized in case one of those online companies gives your family trouble about closing it.

Funeral Arrangements

In the immediate hours and days following your passing, your family will be wracked with grief and consoling each other. Planning the details of your own funeral lifts an immense psychological burden off of them.

  • End of life wishes – choose between burial, cremation, or donating to science
  • Ceremony – select the type of event, whether religious, funeral, wake, memorial, or something of your own design
  • Music – determine the songs (if any) you want to have played
  • Pallbearers – the people tasked with carrying your casket as it leaves the funeral home
  • Guests – the people you definitely want to attend (and those you and your family don’t)

Sure, no one really wants to think about what happens after they die, but you know best how you want to be remembered.

Know What to Expect From the Dying Process

There is a natural process that occurs as an individual nears death, and while each person is unique, the dying process is universal. Many people find it helpful to know what to expect during a typical dying process. This guide will prepare you for what lies ahead on your journey towards death.

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