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What is a Death Binder in End-of-life Planning?
Jul 08, 2021   09:53 AM
by Karen

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.


Thanks for reading,


Questions You Should Be Asking a Funeral Home Before Deciding
Mar 12, 2021   11:48 AM
by Karen

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:

  • How much experience do you have?

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.   

  • What are the basic and additional costs?

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.

  • Can the funeral service be customized to my needs?

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. 

  • What options for payment do I have?

You should check whether the funeral home can coordinate with your insurance company to arrange for financial assistance, especially for the expensive services involved.   

  • Is your staff available on call 24/7?

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.


Thanks for reading,


All You Need to Know About Advance Healthcare Directive
Dec 21, 2020   04:08 PM
by Karen

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:


  • Healthcare proxy: This is the most crucial section where you name an agent. Your agent should be a person(s) whom you can trust and can represent you in the execution of your wishes when an unexpected event, such as your sickness or injury, renders you incapable of making decisions. This person(s) is called your healthcare power of attorney (POA).


  • Living Will: The second part of your advance healthcare directive is the living will. This part lets you express your thoughts about the care that is intended to prolong your life. You can choose to either accept or refuse medical care commonly related to resuscitation, dialysis, tube feedings, and breathing machines. It is also possible to express your wishes when it comes to organ and tissue donation. It is usually difficult to fill this part of the advance directive form because it causes individuals to reflect on their core beliefs and values on their end-of-life treatment. This section of the advance directive may evoke difficult emotions—something in which people have to deal with maturity and pragmatism.

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.


Thanks for reading,


End of the Life Planning for Cancer Patients
Nov 11, 2020   09:33 AM
by Karen

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:

  • Which guidelines evidence the assessment of QOL?
  • What time period specifies the EOL?
  • How accurate, readily available, and plausible are the indicators of QOL?
  • Are these indicators linked to desired results?
  • What constitutes high EOL?
  • Is the patient’s preference given precedence?

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.


Thanks for reading,



Don’t Make These Mistakes While Buying a Casket for a Loved One
Oct 29, 2020   08:46 AM
by Karen

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.

  • Not setting a budget first before shopping for caskets

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.

  • Going in without any research or idea of what you are looking for

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.

  • Choosing a casket that your loved one wouldn’t have chosen for themselves

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.


Thanks for reading,