Somehow we've come to accept that the end of a life is a painful and messy time. Family fighting, grief, courts, and all the paperwork! However, there is a simple way to relive the messy part of the end of life: plan for it while we are still living. We’re all going to die at some point between 100 years from now and tonight. Timely preparation for this future eventuality has countless benefits, particularly for your loved ones. Planning saves money, time, headache and immense heartache which relieves the unnecessary messiness associated with the end of life. What a gift for your loved ones.
In my experience as a lawyer and death midwife, most people do not want to burden their family with expenses after they die. However, funeral costs are a major concern for most families. After a death, the family is usually vulnerable and grief stricken and make burial or cremation decisions that are hasty and expensive. The average funeral through a funeral home costs over $7000 in Los Angeles, but you can plan a simple service for under $1000 provided you are clear and informed. You can also save money by paying for your burial or cremations plans today--a simple cremation can cost as little as $625! This is only one example of the myriad of ways you can save money by planning in advance.
End of life planning also saves time. I often hear of families that are overwhelmed with tasks in the last months of a loved one’s life. Preparing wills, contacting financial planners, funeral planning and so many other doings take precious time away from what could be your last moments with a loved one. Why rifle through papers to find a life insurance policy number when you could be laughing someone you love? When an end of life plan is completed in a timely fashion, it frees time for the things that really matter.
Among what truly matters is peace of mind. By having a clear plan regarding your desires for treatment and how to settle your affairs, your loved ones do not have to guess your wishes. I’ve witnessed families torn apart over decisions about life support when an advance care directive could have prevented it. Grown children fight bitterly over possessions not accounted for in a will. And families are overwhelmed with duties. Once we die, our loved ones must figure out how to cancel drivers licenses, professional licenses, notify businesses, cancel subscriptions, email accounts, passports, cancel Social Security numbers and on and on. Now imagine doing all of this while grieving. It can be easily alleviated by planning.
There are numerous reasons to begin your end of life planning while you are still healthy. By beginning today, you can save the people you care about thousands of dollars, leave time for what matters, and give them the peace of mind that your affairs are in order. Isn't that a worthwhile gift for your loved ones?