Where there’s a will there’s a way
Have the conversation with loved ones about your wishes
imagine for a second you’ve kicked the proverbial bucket (sorry, but it’s going to happen). However your demise comes to pass, do you want people gnashing and wailing and crying into their beers or partying like it’s 1999, celebrating the hell out of you and the gift that your life was to them? Think bright colours, funny stories, music, love, laughter and friends coming together to send you off in style. Well, you have to make it known while you’re still here!
Sharing your end of life wishes – both formally via legal documents and informally – can help circumvent a certain amount of pain and confusion at what’s bound to be a tough time for folks.
Let them know, for instance; do you want life support at all costs? Who’s in charge if you can no longer speak for yourself? Burial or cremation? Ashes scattered to the wind or turned into a tasteful piece of jewellery? And what the heck should they do with your two million Springsteen VHS tapes and CDS?
Talking about death and what happens next empowers, prepares and removes the taboo. We make plans for everything else, why not dying?
THE RIGHT TIME?
That would be now, before an emergency complicates things! It doesn’t have to be a formal sit-down, take your opportunity whenever, wherever to bring up these important issues with loved ones. MAKING A DIFFICULT SITUATION EASIER
Prepare a will. It outlines your final wishes about the distribution of your assets such as real estate, money and personal property. It can also be used to nominate guardians for children and other important personal directives. Dying without one can be a headache and may make inheritance disputes more likely. Without a will, courts may have the final say.
A will can be made by anyone aged over 18 and is binding as long as it is signed by you in the
presence of two witnesses who are not beneficiaries. It doesn’t need to be formally lodged anywhere but you can have your solicitor keep a copy.
You can write your own will.
There are many templates and kits available online or you can have a solicitor draw one up.
Appoint an executor;
this is someone you trust to carry out your wishes.
Make sure to periodically review and update your will after major life events such as marriage, births, divorce or deaths. Don’t scratch
out and handwrite new details. Modifications, known as codicils, must be typed out and re-witnessed. • Keep your will with other important documents and ensure trusted people know where it’s kept.
• Consider appointing an Enduring
Power of Attorney. This person can make financial and legal decisions on your behalf if you’re unable due to illness or hospitalisation. • Make an Advance Care Plan
(living will) detailing your wishes regarding medical care and life support preferences.
• Ask people how they’d like to
‘go out’. Are they registered organ donors? What music should be played at their funeral? Do they even want a funeral? Is there something special you can carry on for them after? There’s comfort in knowing.
Turning a tough time of loss into a joyful celebration is the perfect way to honour a life well lived.