End of life planning is a crucial process that involves conveying your desires about what you hope will occur as you near the last stages of life.
It’s a process that can seem daunting, but it’s integral to relieve your loved ones from making difficult decisions on your behalf, and that’s what this guide intends to provide.
Below is a comprehensive checklist you can follow when preparing your end of life plan.
Table of Contents
How To Improve The End Of Life Planning Conversation?
Conversations surrounding end of life planning are challenging but imperative. Crafting a clear strategy and approaching discussions with loved ones with a clear and thoughtful mindset can aid in navigating through this essential process.
Remember, transparency and articulating your wishes are crucial for understanding and respecting your desires.
Once you’ve talked to your family about your end of life planning, it’s time to consider several factors. Below is a comprehensive checklist you can follow.
20-Point End Of Life Planning Checklist
Although uncomfortable for many, this subject needs careful planning and a nuanced approach.
That is why many funeral services in Singapore offer support in managing end-of-life wishes, making this journey less overwhelming with various resources and guides.
Here is a checklist below that will serve as your guide to help you get started.
Legal And Financial Planning
Legal and financial planning is crucial in ensuring your wishes, assets, and dependents are well taken care of after your passing. Here are seven legal documents you need to prepare:
1. Writing A Will
This legal document dictates the allocation of your money, property, and possessions posthumously. It ensures the distribution of assets as per your wishes, specifies guardians for children or dependents, and nominates an executor to enforce the stipulations of your will.
A person aged 21 or above and of sound mind can pen down a will voluntarily without any coercive influences. However, while you can draft wills independently, legal consultation is advisable for validity assurance, especially when complexities arise.
Remember that the absence of a will can lead to prolonged, costly estate settlements, necessitating the acquisition of ‘Letters of Administration’ for asset management and distribution according to the Intestate Succession Act. In such cases, the law is followed for asset allocation decisions.
2. Lasting Power Of Attorney (LPA)
Assigning a Lasting Power of Attorney is essential for specifying a trusted individual to make critical decisions on your behalf in cases of mental incapacity due to medical conditions like advanced dementia or coma.
If you suffer from a loss of mental capacity and don’t have an LPA, you will need to acquire a court-appointed deputy, which is mandatory, a process that is time-consuming and expensive.
To establish an LPA, one must be at least 21, mentally sound, and not an undischarged bankrupt for property-related matters. Registering your LPA with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) is also essential to gain legality. The CitizenConnect Centre, ServiceSG Centre, and the OPG offer assistance for LPA applications.
3. Central Provident Fund (CPF) Nomination
A CPF nomination is essential for determining the distribution of your CPF savings after death. It empowers you to designate nominees and decide the percentage of CPF savings they receive, safeguarding against creditor claims and ensuring they receive the total amount.
CPF nominations are essential as legal wills do not include CPF savings.
To make a CPF nomination, you must be a CPF member, 16 years or above, and mentally competent to make decisions. Nominations can be changed or cancelled as per individual preferences, and assistance is available through the CPF Board and its service centres.
4. Insurance Policies
Maintaining and regularly updating insurance policies and listing beneficiaries are vital for end of life planning.
Life insurance benefits those financially dependent on you, aiding in managing daily and long-term expenses, funeral, and probate costs.
Maintaining a list of insurance information, including policy numbers, agents’ names, and contact details, is crucial to facilitate easy access and ensure beneficiaries’ proper entitlement.
5. Financial Inventory
This step involves creating an exhaustive list of all your assets, liabilities, and pertinent financial information, including:
- Bank Accounts
- Credit Cards
- Safe Deposit Boxes
This detailed cataloguing is indispensable for a smooth transition of assets, avoiding potential conflicts and ensuring every financial aspect is accounted for, paving the way for seamless execution of one’s financial and legal plans posthumously.
6. Setting Up A Trust
Trusts are not exclusive to the wealthy; anyone with considerable assets or own property should contemplate setting up a Trust.
Creating a Trust is especially beneficial for families with special needs members or minor children, allowing for greater control over asset distribution, ensuring privacy and offering protection against litigation.
Health And Medical Planning
Health and medical planning ensure clarity and coherence in medical care processes. It lays down specific procedures, tools, and responsible individuals to act when someone cannot make decisions for themselves due to incapacitation or deteriorating health, especially in end of life situations.
Here are the documents to prepare:
8. Advance Care Planning (ACP)
Advance Care Planning enables the recording of preferences for future decisions in health and personal care, allowing the sharing of wishes in advance, and ensuring that loved ones and healthcare providers understand your treatment preferences for severe illnesses.
The ACP should be initiated early, revisited periodically, and amended as health statuses or life events evolve.
9. Healthcare Proxy
Designating a healthcare spokesperson is a fundamental aspect of medical planning, which typically involves appointing a trustworthy individual to make medical decisions on one’s behalf when incapacitated.
This nominated individual should be well-acquainted with the person’s values, beliefs, and care preferences, ensuring that their medical and personal wishes are respected.
It is also recommended to include healthcare spokespersons in discussions about lasting power of attorney (LPA) if one is considering making one, to ensure coherence in decisions related to personal welfare and property.
10. Review Medical Insurance
Reviewing medical insurance is a vital step in end of life planning. This ensures that your medical coverage is sufficient and tailored to accommodate any unique requirements or wishes you may have at the end of your life.
It enables you to understand the extent and limitations of your policy, preventing unforeseen financial strains on you or your family, and guaranteeing that your healthcare needs will be met.
11. Advanced Medical Directive (AMD)
The Advanced Medical Directive (AMD) is a vital legal document which enables individuals to communicate to healthcare professionals their wish not to receive any extraordinary life-sustaining treatment to prolong life.
Making an AMD is a personal and voluntary choice. Anyone above 21 years old, who is mentally sound, can create one. The process begins with obtaining an AMD form from medical clinics, hospitals, or online platforms.
A consultation with a doctor and a witness is mandatory to ensure understanding and willingness. After all parties sign the document, it is sent to the Registrar of Advance Medical Directives to be officially recorded.
Funeral And Post-Life Arrangements
Planning and detailing your funeral wishes can alleviate the added stress of decision-making for your loved ones, allowing them to grieve without discerning your probable preferences.
Here are the things you need to prepare:
11. Selection Of A Funeral Service Provider
Specifying a preferred funeral service provider is crucial as it directs your family promptly to whom they should reach out in the unfortunate event of your passing.
Some people opt for buying prepaid funeral plans from trusted service providers to lessen the financial and emotional strain on the family, ensuring that the proceedings occur seamlessly, respecting the predetermined wishes and alleviating the administrative burden from the grieving family. However, be sure to check with the provider if they offer a pre-paying system, as this is not offered by all companies.
12. Appointment Of An Executor For Funeral Affairs
Designating a responsible individual to oversee your funeral affairs is vital to ensure your final wishes are respected and implemented appropriately.
This person should be trustworthy, capable of making informed decisions that align with your desires, and possess the emotional strength to manage the affairs amidst the grieving process.
13. Decision On Handling Of Remains
Depending on your beliefs and personal preferences, you can decide how your remains should be handled posthumously:
Your decision should be communicated clearly to your loved ones to prevent any disagreements or uncertainties during an emotionally charged time.
14. Type Of Funeral Service
Clearly communicating your preference ensures that the service truly reflects your life, beliefs, and the legacy you wish to leave behind. Based on your spiritual beliefs and personal preferences, the funeral service can be either:
It’s imperative to choose a service that aligns with your core beliefs and values, ensuring that your final farewell resonates with your personal narrative. Remember, this is your final message to the world, and it should echo the life you’ve lived and the values you’ve upheld.
15. Location For The Wake
Even if you don’t have a specific preference, communicating your thoughts on the location of the wake is essential.
It can be held at varied locations like a funeral parlour, church, HDB void deck, multi-purpose hall, or other specified facilities. Making such decisions in advance avoids unnecessary stress and potential disputes among family members.
Aside from the primary arrangements, considering and conveying your preferences for songs, hymns, music, prayers, poems, readings, types of flowers, and donations in your name to an organisation can add a personalised and meaningful touch to the ceremony.
Personal And Emotional Aspects
Addressing personal and emotional aspects during end of life planning is crucial, as it helps in the holistic resolution of practical and emotional matters, ensuring peace of mind for both the individual and their loved ones.
Below are the essential preparations you need to make and some tips on reconciling with estranged loved ones.
16. Accumulation Of Personal Information Documents
Having these documents in order and easily accessible can significantly aid in easing the administrative processes after one’s passing, allowing for a smoother transition for the loved ones involved.
- Identification Documents
- Birth Certificates
- Marriage Or Divorce Certificates (If applicable)
Organising documents related to residential and commercial property, vehicles, utility bills, and other recurring payments is equally vital.
This meticulous arrangement ensures the seamless management of assets and liabilities, preventing unnecessary complications or disputes among the surviving family members.
17. Reconciliation And Resolution
Resolving any lingering conflicts or unsettled matters with loved ones is essential. This can be achieved through open and honest communication, expressing apologies or forgiveness where needed, and striving to understand each other’s perspectives.
Resolving such matters is a step toward healing and can offer closure to both parties involved, allowing for peace and reconciliation before parting.
18. Support System
Creating a solid support system for loved ones is imperative. Suggesting grief counselling can also be beneficial for those struggling with loss. The availability of supportive and empathetic environments is invaluable, helping individuals navigate their grief journey healthily and fostering resilience among the bereaved family and friends.
19. Digital Assets And Digital Legacy
Making arrangements for online accounts, including social media accounts, emails, and other digital assets, is essential in today’s digital age. For instance, Facebook allows users to choose a legacy contact to manage their account or have their account permanently deleted.
Digital legacies, including email accounts, social media profiles, online business accounts, and devices, also need careful consideration and planning. Clear instructions and permissions should be left regarding access, management, or deletion of these accounts to protect one’s digital identity.
20. Pet Care
Often considered part of the family, pets experience loss and require continuous care, love, and attention. Establishing clear and thoughtful arrangements for pets is crucial to avoid leaving them vulnerable.
Arrangements can include:
- Appointing a reliable caregiver or exploring reputable adoption options
- Providing specific care instructions
- Setting aside funds or resources for the pet’s future needs
Conclusion About The End Of Life Planning Checklist
End of life planning is an essential, albeit challenging task that requires thoughtful consideration and clear communication of your wishes. It’s a form of assurance, a final gesture of love that can offer peace of mind to your loved ones in an otherwise distressing time.
Funeral services in Singapore like Casket Fairprice provide essential support in navigating end of life planning, ensuring a respectful and honoured fulfilment of your last wishes. From legal to personal aspects, every detail matters. For more information, you can schedule a consultation with us on funeral pre-planning.
Frequently Asked Questions About The End Of Life Planning Checklist
Are There Professionals I Can Consult To Help Guide Me Through The Entire End-Of-Life Planning Process?
Yes, dedicated professionals, including estate planners, funeral directors, and grief counsellors, can provide expert guidance, ensuring that every aspect of your end of life preparations is comprehensive and tailored to your wishes.
Here at Casket Fairprice, we provide funeral pre-planning services. We will advise families on what to consider for funeral planning, including the number of days, religion, location, down to the method of ash storage.
How Can I Have An Open Conversation About End Of Life Planning With My Family Members?
To improve the end of life planning conversation with family members, approach the topic with sensitivity and openness, encourage each member to express their thoughts and concerns, and ensure a supportive environment where mutual respect and understanding are paramount.
Providing informative resources and involving a professional counsellor or a mediator can also facilitate more constructive discussions on this sensitive matter.
How Often Should One Review Or Revise Their End Of Life Plans And Preferences?
It’s advisable to review and, if necessary, revise end of life plans and preferences regularly, ideally annually, or whenever there is a significant change in health, family dynamics, or personal wishes.
What Are The Secure Options For Storing Documents Related To End Of Life Planning?
Safe deposit boxes, fireproof safes at home, or secure digital storage services that specialise in end-of-life documents are commonly used options. Sharing the locations and access details with trusted family members or executors ensures that the documents can be accessed when needed.