Posted by Colin Moore
One of the toughest challenges anyone can face in their lifetime is losing a loved one and then having to guess what kind of funeral and memorial service they would have wanted, also to try to locate important documents and find the answers to key questions. But it does not have to be this way, by documenting our preferences and important details in advance of need, families can be spared making the difficult decisions of what to do next and avoid all of this uncertainty.
End of Life Planning is about thinking, discussing, planning and documenting the final event in our lives before it actually happens. It should be a big part and a necessary part of any estate or financial planning service. We cannot control how we die, but we can control how our finances will be managed, how our estate will be distributed, the sort of funeral we would like and what arrangements or messages we would like to leave behind for our families.
The worst time to plan a funeral is when someone has died. You only have an average of twenty-four to seventy-two hours to make all the arrangements, while also dealing with the emotional impact of the loss of a loved one. So, making difficult decisions which cannot be undone when you are overcome with grief is not the best time.
Making an End of Life Plan allows you to make extremely important decisions through a calm and clear thought-out process. In other words, it is much more likely that you will make more rational and logical decisions. This helps to ensure your funeral wishes and other family matters can be arranged in a more meaningful way, and the way you would have wanted.
Most people don’t know how to begin planning for life’s ending. But for everyone who has made a Will they have already taken a step in the right direction towards pre-planning their future wishes. The problem is, this form of planning alone fails to address their family’s immediate concerns between the time of death and and in the crucial days thereafter leading up to the funeral when major financial decisions have to be made.
The key to effective end-of-life planning is not to race through filling out legal documents but to take the time to understand the full scope of what is involved in putting our entire affairs in order and to seek out solid information on each topical area. Then we can fully embrace the whole process.
Although an End of Life Plan will not completely alleviate the emotional and financial pressures people will face, it will certainly help them reduce or eliminate many of the most stressful decisions, pressures, and expenses, and ultimately help ease the pain of a very difficult situation.
Colin Moore is founder of The Funeral Consultancy and regularly provides courses and seminars on Caring for The Bereaved and End of Life Planning.
ED’S NOTE: We are huge admirers of Colin here at the GFG. Goodness knows how much money his work has cost him (we know how it feels, Colin!). He is motivated entirely by a desire to be useful and helpful. Do check out his website. He has been tenacious and he has persevered. At long last his work is gaining official recognition in Leicestershire and, what’s more, financial backing from Big Society coffers. Colin, we salute you.