Death is both inevitable and painful. Planning for your death is not the most cheerful subject to talk or think about, but life forces us to do just that. With age comes the realization that the prospect of our death is more painful for people who love us than for ourselves. You and I cannot escape death, but we can at least plan for it. Planning for your death is the most gratuitous thing you can do for your family and loved ones. A death binder is a tool that helps you do that.
A death binder has many names. Some call it an end-of-life binder, others call it a family emergency binder or financial information binder. Whatever you call it, the basic purpose and uses remain the same. Your death binder is designed to store all your financial information in one place. It is a compact way of storing all your financial and other important documents. The advantage of having all your important papers in one file is such a blessing for your family once you are no more. You would be helping them while they are in the throes of grieving your death.
How to make your death binder
There is no strict formula to a death binder. What you need to keep in mind is that this has to be the ONLY place where you store your documents. Alternatively, you can put a copy of the document in the binder along with a note saying where the original can be found. It’s also good to have someone familiar with the contents and location of documents, most often a close family member or trusted friend.
Customize your death binder however you want. Organize it into different sections, each for categories like housing, insurance, health, car, etc. If you are more comfortable with screens than with papers, you can do the same thing on your computer. The idea is to have safe storage for each and every important document that you accumulate over a lifetime. Some funeral homes even offer folders or information packets. Just remember to keep the underlying principle in mind: have everything organized in one place so it is easy to make arrangements for your death.
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A funeral home refers to the physical location where funeral or burial services are carried out for the deceased and their families. Most people don't want to think about such services, but it's good to stay prepared because when you're grieving the loss of a loved one, you don't want to have to worry about such things.
Being prepared means getting in touch with funeral homes and deciding on one that can offer you what you need. Here are some questions you should ask before you make your decision about a funeral home:
Checking whether the funeral home is family-owned or part of an independent business and how long they’ve been operating will be able to give you an idea of the experience they have. It’s also important to determine if the funeral home is a part of professional associations or organizations so that you’re assured of professional standards of operation.
Get clarity on the costs involved. Basic services will include funeral planning, preparation of notices, securing the permits required, sheltering remains, and more. You will have to get clarity on additional expenses that you need to pay for so that you’re not shocked by the bill at the end.
You will want to choose a funeral home that allows you to customize certain aspects of the service to suit your needs. This could be in terms of obituaries, prayer cards, photos, and more. Some customizations may be allowed without any additional cost, but others may add to your bill.
You should check whether the funeral home can coordinate with your insurance company to arrange for financial assistance, especially for the expensive services involved.
Make sure you pick a funeral home that allows you to have 24/7 access to staff and clearly outlines how long it will take for staff to arrive once you've called them.
Answering these questions will help in expediting your good choice in a funeral home.
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Imagine a situation when you are too injured or sick and are unable to express your healthcare wishes. You will certainly need someone who will be able to make those decisions on your behalf and provide the needed care. This is where you need an advance healthcare directive. Fundamentally, it is an important legal document that lets you express all your end-of-life healthcare wishes before any unexpected event occurs.
An advance healthcare directive is made up of two parts:
Once you have completed your advance healthcare directive, you have to make it legal by getting it notarized or signed by any two witnesses besides your healthcare proxy. Once your directive becomes legal, you need to give a copy of it to your medical practitioner, healthcare proxy, and family.
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The American Cancer Society makes a shocking estimate that close to 606,520 Americans are likely to have died of cancer in 2020. Anticipation of the end of life (EOL) and taking necessary or preferred health care decisions while nearing this period is mentally and emotionally distressing for patients with advanced cancer and everyone around them. These people include their families and friends, doctors, and other caregivers. But, the adverse repercussions of failing to plan for the shift to EOL care are usually greater psychological distress, inconsistent medical treatments, use of burdensome and costly health care aids that are of little benefit, and/or a tough bereavement.
Determining the quality of EOL care
EOL planning provides cancer patients with the necessary tools to make proper health care and financial decisions during a period when they are physically and mentally capable of making decisions. The four main components of EOL planning for cancer patients include:
1) Drafting a living will or an advance directive (AD),
2) Granting a person a power of attorney for their health care,
3) Writing a document specifying the terms for distribution of assets and wealth, and
4) Expressing preferences for the type and location of care.
Patients and oncologists often tend to avoid or postpone EOL planning until the final days or weeks of life. This may be owing to the many potential reasons at the individual, familial, or societal levels. However, emerging evidence suggests that people can overcome many of these factors.
The patient suffering from advanced cancer, along with their family and friends, and the oncologist often encounter treatment decisions that significantly affect the patient’s quality of life (QOL). The quality of EOL care in patients with advanced cancer can be determined by asking the following questions:
If these EOL factors are properly considered, an increasing number of advanced cancer patients may go for a new chemotherapy session a month before their death or continue with it at least till two weeks before death. Also, an increasing number of advanced cancer patients go for hospice care, which really is a healthy alternative.
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When you lose a loved one, choosing a casket is an important part of planning their funeral. Choosing a casket is more important than it appears, because it is where your loved ones are put to rest.
To help you pick the best possible casket suited to your needs, here are some common mistakes you should avoid while buying a casket for a loved one.
Caskets, especially good, high-quality caskets, are not inexpensive. They can cost a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars, which is why you need to fix a budget right from the very start. You will have to consider other funeral expenses too, such as booking the venue, catering, flowers, and setting aside money for the casket accordingly.
There are all kinds of caskets available today. Are you looking for a very simple wooden casket? Or perhaps you are looking or something a little fancier and ornate like a metal casket with detailing? Before you make a purchase, make sure you do some research first and have a fair idea of the kind of casket that will suit your needs, taste, and budget. You can check our website for your options.
Having lots of choices can be overwhelming, and sometimes, you may pick a casket that doesn’t suit the personality or taste of your loved one at all. It’s important to remember that this is a casket where they will lay their heads forever, so carefully choose a casket that best reflects the kind of person they were. Don’t go for something you know that they wouldn’t like.
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Choosing the right funeral director can have an immense impact on not just the successful organization of the funeral ceremony, but also on your own mental health and peace of mind. Losing a loved one is hard enough by itself, but having a funeral director you can depend on can really take away some of the burden.
Here are the four most important qualities that you should look for in a funeral director:
A funeral director must be a great communicator and listener. They have to ensure that they understand and respect the final wishes of the deceased or the wishes of the families. They must also be able to clearly explain what the process of funeral planning would be like and answer any questions or doubts that families have.
Funeral planning is no cakewalk. It takes a lot of organization, coordination and management of a number of tasks in just a few days. This is why a funeral director needs to be on top of things at all times.
There are many aspects to funeral planning that the funeral director must be aware of, including customs and traditions, the latest industry news and updates, the right contacts and connections, as well as creativity and innovation. The director must be someone who is ready and willing to keep learning and growing in their career.
Finally, make sure that you find a funeral director who is compassionate, kind and understanding of what you are going through. They should be empathetic and never try to take advantage of you when you are grieving and in a vulnerable situation. Instead, they should always look out for your best interests.
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Traditional burials in cemeteries are still the most preferred form of burials today, despite the rise of many other burial methods. For those of you who wish to follow traditions, or for those who would like to be buried next to their loved ones, then a traditional in-ground burial could be the best option for you and your family.
Whether you are buying a plot in advance for yourself, or you are planning the funeral of a loved one, here are a few essential things that you should keep in mind when buying a burial plot.
One of the first questions you may have is where to buy a burial plot. Location is an important choice, and it may be influenced by various factors including cost, whether your loved ones are buried in a particular cemetery, ease of accessibility, and more. Make sure that you carefully consider all these factors when choosing the location, keeping in mind family traditions as well as personal preferences.
The next consideration is the type of burial plot you are going to buy. The most common burial plots today include a single plot, a companion plot, and a family plot. If you wish to be buried side by side with a loved one, then a companion plot is a great choice. If you wish to be buried next to your family members, then a family plot could be perfect for you.
A traditional in-ground burial usually comes with burial markers, monuments or headstones, where the name, date, and other inscriptions are engraved. Whether you go for a gray or colored stone, or marble, or even some other material, this is not only a way to mark the gravesite, but also a meaningful and beautiful way to honor the memory of a loved one who has passed.
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We can never predict what life or death can bring. However, we can always prepare. End of life planning can involve a whole process of introspection, learning, and discussion with your loved ones. End of life planning in older adults aims to provide tools to control their financial and healthcare decisions when they are no longer in a state to do so.
Here are the top tips that can help an older person with the end of life planning:
Most older people think of the end of life planning as planning for the last moments of their life. Rather, the planning should involve having healthcare plans that help navigate the healthcare decisions in the later stages of life. The planning should help you, your loved ones or your doctor navigate the crucial healthcare decisions needed. Consider drawing up a health care directive and give copies to doctors and family.
Talking to your doctors about what to expect is especially important for people with chronic conditions. If you know how these chronic conditions progress, you know what to expect and how to plan ahead. You may also look for extra information from other medical experts.
The older person needs to reflect on their preferences, values, and wishes. There are several online tools available to help you do that. Aging adults should be able to answer vital questions like choosing a decision-maker, and the flexibility that the decision-maker has. Help them understand what truly matters to them and how to let others know of their wishes.
Nothing works as it’s been planned in life. Hence, it is essential to be prepared for life's uncertainties. You may have made a decision now, however, it may not always be the right decision at a later stage in life. Be prepared to weigh the pros and cons of a situation and then make a decision according to it.
End of life planning is often a difficult topic for older adults as well as their families. Besides the medical aspects, it is also important to keep relationships, emotions, and spirituality in mind when making decisions.
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Death is something none of us wants to plan for, but pre-purchasing cemetery plots for burial has plenty of benefits. Not only does it save your loved ones plenty of trouble in planning your funeral after you pass away, you also have the option of choosing the exact plot you want your remains to be buried in.
There are different types of cemetery plots, also known as funeral plots or burial plots. Here are some of the most common ones.
When you purchase a plot, it doesn’t mean that you are purchasing the land itself, but rather the right to buried in that land. This is referred to as interment rights. The rights holder, through written permission, can also have someone else buried in that plot of land.
In most states in the US, the price of funeral plots vary from $1000 to $5000. Of course, there are plenty of other factors at play apart from the state in which you buy the plot. The type of plot you buy as well was when you buy can affect the price. Pre-purchasing often has lower costs compared to the inflated prices you can expect years from now.
There are several additional costs you will have to consider as well such as a grave liner, installation of the headstone or monument, endowment care, opening and closing of the grave, annual maintenance fees, etc.
In the US, once you purchase a burial plot, you have the rights to be buried in it indefinitely. However, there may be variations from state to state.
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When pregnant women visit the hospital, they already have a “birth plan” in place. However, the same is not true for people when they get admitted to hospitals with an illness. We rarely have a “death plan”. Now, more than ever, it is crucial to prepare with end-of-life planning. Medical practitioners are urging people to have their advance care directives in place, or at least, in the drafting stage when they come to the hospital for admittance.
Advance directives basically consist of written instructions pertaining to your care, which let your medical and familial caregivers know how you’d like your treatment to progress if you can no longer speak for yourself. For example, a living will is a kind of advanced care directive. Appointing your power of attorney is also in line with advanced care planning.
The culture and society we live in traditionally practices denial of our impending death. As a result, the government does not have policies in place which deliver the public with sufficient information on how to carry out end-of-life planning. Even our medical professionals are uncomfortable in broaching that discussion early into a person’s treatment.
You Can Reduce the Guilt and Trauma You Feel Later By Encouraging End of Life Planning
Aggressive medical interventions can take a toll on the patient’s family and friends. If the individual had been encouraged to participate in advanced care planning, the family would no longer have had to shoulder the responsibility of making these life-altering decisions for them. It would lessen their guilt and trauma.
The Novel Coronavirus pandemic has brought humanity to a point where we are all questioning the certainty of life. So, there is no better time than now to roll up your sleeves and dig deep into how you’d like to be put to rest when your days are numbered. Advanced care planning can help you and your close ones rest easy.
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