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End-of-Life Planning: Hard but Necessary!

Planning for the Future: Essential Documents and Directives for End-of-Life Care

Bill Bush (pictured above) was an amazing example of planning ahead for his family. He had all documents clearly marked and in order. He made sure his family knew where to find everything they needed when he passed away. His family appreciated his organization, even though talking about the location of wills and other important documents with him was difficult. It’s hard for families to think about a loved one’s death, even though we all know every one of us will die at some point.

Planning for death may seem daunting, but it’s a crucial step to ensure your wishes are honored and your loved ones are supported during challenging times. There are several key documents to have in place to guide medical decisions and financial matters when you’re unable to advocate for yourself.

Essential Documents


Having a will is essential. A will outlines how you want your assets distributed after your death. It ensures your wishes are followed and can prevent disputes among family members. You can create a will with the help of a lawyer or by using online templates, ensuring it’s legally valid in your state.

Living Will and Healthcare Proxy

Consider establishing a living will and appointing a healthcare proxy. A living will, also known as an advance directive, specifies your preferences for medical treatment if you’re unable to communicate them yourself. It covers aspects such as life-sustaining measures and organ donation. Appointing a healthcare proxy allows you to designate someone you trust to make medical decisions on your behalf.

Durable Power of Attorney for Finances

A durable power of attorney for finances grants someone the authority to manage your financial affairs if you become incapacitated. This document ensures your bills are paid, investments are managed, and assets are protected according to your wishes.

Document Storage and Accessibility

These documents should be stored in a safe and accessible place. Consider keeping copies with your lawyer, in a secure digital format, and providing copies to trusted family members or friends. It’s important to review and update these documents periodically to reflect any changes in your circumstances or preferences.

Planning Ahead Avoids Future Chaos

By taking proactive steps to plan for the future, you can alleviate stress for yourself and your loved ones during difficult times. Discussing your wishes openly with family members and seeking guidance from legal and medical professionals can help ensure your end-of-life preferences are respected.

Additional Resources

For more information on essential documents and steps for advance care planning, you can visit the National Institute on Aging’s website: Getting Your Affairs in Order. The American Bar Association provides a list to the public of Advanced Care Planning Tools. (  AARP also offers a list of advanced directive forms by state.  (

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