If you have ever wondered about the fulfillment of your wishes after your death, you are not alone. End of life planning is an important part of life plans. According to a recently published article, people who have planned the end of their lives well in advance tend to spend less time in the hospital on average. A sound plan will translate into less stress and anxiety for your loved ones. In this article, we shall learn how you can protect yourself against these blunders.
Putting off the end of life conversation for too long
Conversations concerning death make most people uncomfortable, but postponing it is not the answer. It is not an exaggeration to say that you will be doing your loved ones a favor if you communicate it at the earliest. A well thought out end of life plan will prevent a lot of stress, heartache, and uncertainty.
Having a vague idea about the power of attorney
In simple terms, the General Power of Attorney is a legal document, which authorizes a particular person to represent you in business or legal matters for a specific period of time. An Enduring Power of Attorney, on the other hand, grants these rights to a particular person without the restriction of time. The Enduring Power of Attorney is activated when the person authorizing it is considered to be incapable of making sound decisions. You must be well aware of these subtle nuances.
Not planning a clear healthcare road map
Thanks to the advancements in modern healthcare, there is now a multitude of options available. Having a well-defined healthcare plan for the end of life situation will save a lot of time and money. It will most likely determine how one will be spending their last days.
Failing to update end of life choices from time to time
Just like the adage, "Variety is the spice of life," you are sure to undergo many changes in your lifetime. As circumstances change, so will your preferences. It is recommended that you revisit your end of life preferences once every five years.
Failing to inform the status of debts to the family members
Death does not erase debts. All outstanding debts will be debited from the estate of the deceased. Your family members must be informed about all debts and their statuses to protect them against any unwarranted claims in the future.
I hope this helps to overcome problems at the end of life of you and your loved ones.
Thanks for reading,
You have probably heard people use the terms funeral director, mortician, and undertaker interchangeably. While these professions all have to do with the funeral industry, they are not all the same.
Here is the difference :
As the name suggests, a funeral director is someone that arranges, manages, and oversees a funeral or a memorial. Part of his job is to provide support to the family of the deceased by taking care of every aspect of the funeral from embalming and dressing the body, placing it in the casket or coffin, and taking care of other logistics such as filing for legal paperwork including death certificates, etc.
Today, “funeral director” is the most commonly used term in the funeral industry.
A mortician is meant to describe someone who is specifically in charge of handling the body and preparing it for the funeral. This means that a mortician is someone who embalms and beautifies a body before the funeral.
Years ago, a mortician was strictly in charge of taking care of the body. However, today, many funeral homes have a funeral director who takes care of logistics and takes care of preparing the body. This is why the terms “funeral director” and “mortician” are often used interchangeably.
You may think that the term “undertaker” comes from being in the business of laying the bodies of the dead six feet under the ground. But this actually has nothing to do with it. Rather, it simply refers to someone who undertakes the task of managing funerals.
This term was commonly used in around the 17th and 18th century, but is now replaced by "funeral director." Basically, “undertaker” was the term used for funeral directors years ago.
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We hear a lot about the power of the last words spoken by people before their death. You can find a plethora of articles on the internet showing the most popular last words spoken. Numerous books have even been published on the topic.
But do the last words of people spoken on their deathbed hold as much meaning as we want to believe?
Why do we put so much importance on the last words?
One reason last words have been the subject of fascination by many people is that they are words on which people choose to spend their dying breath. Many people, especially those who are especially religious or spiritual, believe that when people are close to death, they have a special insight into the mysteries of the afterlife, or even life itself.
Another reason is that when people are on their deathbed, they are often brutally honest and have no filter, so they tend to say things they really feel or believe in. After all, they have nothing left to lose. Many people view this as the dying person’s way of unburdening themselves of their stresses and guilt, which they may have been holding onto their entire life.
While we tend to put on a lot of meaning to the last words spoken by people, there is also the argument that most times, people who are dying are unable to put together coherent thoughts, and the words they speak are unintelligible and don’t hold as much meaning as we would like to believe. Sometimes, the last words are just ramblings that can be interpreted in multiple ways.
However, for the people who care about the person lying on their deathbed, it can be comforting to interpret their last words in a way that makes the most sense. Often times, these are words that can help people who are grieving find closure and move on from a huge loss.
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As the number of COVID-19 cases in the United States is on the rise, the government is taking strict action to deal with the spread of this disease. Not only does this virus cause serious medical complications to those who belong to the vulnerable group, but it also disrupts businesses and traditional practices.
Yes, social distancing is affecting end of life planning
Funeral homes, who already have the training and expertise to prevent the spread of diseases, have to follow additional health and safety measures. As per the directives of the federal and state bodies, it has become mandatory for every individual to practice social distancing.
Every person has to maintain at least six feet apart from other people in the vicinity. As a result, funeral homes have to change the way they provide end of life planning services. At present, not more than 10 people, consisting of close family members of the deceased, can attend the funeral.
Cultural practices and military honors on hold
Another area where social distancing is coming into play when it comes to the end of life planning are the practices followed by different religious cultures. Due to the recent outbreak, funeral homes are asking people to avoid kissing or touching the bodies of the deceased who died from COVID-19.
These agencies are asking individuals to refrain from traditional cultural practices during the pandemic such as large religious ceremonies. At the same time, funerals homes are canceling post-cremation and reception ceremonies.
Some people are delaying the burial services until the government lifts social distancing directives. Pre-planning is also on the rise due to the increase in the number of COVID-19 victims.
The officials of Veterans Affairs (VA) also provided clarity on military funeral honors - “committal services and the rendering of military funeral honors will discontinue until further notice” . As per the latest directive, funeral homes won’t be conducting these services, until they receive additional information from VA. Also, families are opting out of interring the deceased, until the government lifts social distancing orders.
It is difficult in this time of pandemic, but also important that we all follow the directives set in place nationally, and especially locally, so that we all may thwart the spread of this disease.
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When a loved one dies, there is no doubt that it is an overwhelming experience. You have to deal with your emotions while having to make funeral arrangements and taking care of financial matters.
Knowing what a challenging time it is for people who are grieving, there are some who take advantage of what you are going through by trying to scam you. They know that you are in a vulnerable state, and they try to trick you into falling for these scams. Make sure you do not fall victim to these common after-death scams:
Often times, scammers call you or send an email asking for the birth date and Social Security number of the deceased on the pretext that their Medicare insurance information has to be updated. Their real intention is identity theft so make sure that you do not fall for this scam.
You may be contacted by scammers who claim that your loved one was behind on their life insurance policy payments, asking you to complete their payment so that you can be paid out a huge sum of money. Before you transfer the money, make sure you have documents proving that your loved one really did have said insurance.
Scammers sometimes pretend to be IRS employees and aggressively nag you on the phone saying that the deceased owes tax money. They may even threaten legal action if you do not pay. The IRS has announced that it never contacts people by phone and asks for money in this manner.
Finally, there are those scammers who claim to be long, lost relatives. These people come out of the blue after death and claim that they are owed inheritance. Make sure always to confirm their identity first. And, of course, check the Last Will and Testament with a lawyer.
Thanks for reading,