Must-Have End of Life Planning Resources
It’s coming!! Our parents are aging and will eventually need more of our help. Some of you are already in this season, and sadly, many of you have already dealt with the loss of parents. These must-have end of life planning resources will come in so handy for those of us entering this season or already in the middle of it, but still have questions or issues of concern.
None of us will live forever. When was the last time you assessed the value of your life insurance policy? Do you need to increase or decrease the amount. Do you have a will? When was the last time you updated that? Is there a plan in place for any kids that are less than 18 years old? Who will be their guardian? Will there be a trustee in charge of finances, and until what age?
We have had two friends in their 50s recently pass away who were not maybe as prepared as they should have been. By discussing these things now, you will assure that your spouse and kids are well taken care of if the worst were to happen.
So, this article is for us helping our parents to prepare, but also for us to get our own ducks in a row.
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How to Choose the Best End Of Life Planning Resources
Before you make any plans with or for your aging parent(s), keep a few things in mind. First, our parents still deserve our respect. Second, a lot of this can be overwhelming, so doing this a little at a time is best. Third, Some of our parents are not technically savvy. For instance, my mom has a lot of technical knowledge, is willing to try things, but also knows when to ask for help. My dad doesn’t know how to turn on a computer…
Most aging parents are somewhere in between those two true-life examples.
It is a good idea to discuss any plan that you would like to make. Yes, you may have to say, “I would like to get a handle on what is going on so that in a worst-case scenario, everything is in order.”
Best End Of Life Planning Resources: Estate Planning
Understanding Living Trusts will help you organize your finances and get ready to meet with an attorney. The book includes charts, examples, and checklists. Knowing the terms and options will help you talk with your attorney and save time and money when you are preparing to avoid probate.
Ronald Farrington Sharp wrote this book to help readers understand the advantages trusts have over wills. He shares his opinion that avoiding probate saves everyone headaches and money in the end and also protects assets for those left behind.
Do you have a special needs child? You may need a special needs trust to ensure they are taken care of in the event of your disability or death.
Best End of Life Planning Resources: Funerals
Kathy Benjamin has written It’s Your Funeral! to help put “the fun back in funeral.” She explains it all – burial expenses, obituary writing, and how to “think outside the coffin.”
Funeral Planning Basics: A Step-By-Step Guide to Funeral Planning (2023 U.S. Edition)
This book will walk you through every aspect of funeral planning and includes step-by-step end of life planning worksheets.
Best End of Life Planning Resources: Caring for Aging Parents
Patricia Boswell provides a master class in how to compassionately and effectively provide the absolute best care for your family member alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Do you have trouble thinking of how to bring up difficult topics with your parents like dementia, drinking, depression, and driving? Dick Edwards shares the tips and tricks to having these conversations.
There are so many overwhelming issues to work through when caring for your aging parents. This guide covers them all! Chapters include “Adapting to New Roles,” “Life at Home,” “Handling the Paperwork,” and “When They Forget,” among many others.
This book deals with hiring help. It covers the keys to finding the right help to make sure your parents get the help they need and deserve.
Best End of Life Planning Resources: Organization
This book is a complete workbook for putting together all of your paperwork, important documents, and final wishes. It even includes downloadable pdfs to complete your binder.
What to Do When I Am Dead is a fillable planner to help your loved ones know what to do after your death. Use it to keep all of your vital information and records in one place for your family.
More Best End Of Life Planning Resources:
There are a number of other resources available for end-of-life planning that aren’t books. These tools are set up by people who care for, or have cared for, aging parents or clients. These have been created with both the cared and the caring in mind. Check them out!
First there is a website called NEMU. “… helping families quickly catalog, price, equitably divide, and sell their personal property.” This source is used when clients are going through death, divorce and downsizing. What a great idea!
Nokbox is all about organizing the things that are important: papers, accounts, even keys! Regardless of your age or your phase of life, having a Nokbox is a pretty wonderful thing. This end-of-life planning organizer keeps you organized while you are living, and it’s a wonderful gift to your NOK.” (NOK=next of kin) There are many choices for whatever your needs may be.
Caringinfo is a program of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, which provides free resources to educate and empower patients and caregivers to make decisions about serious illness and end-of-life care and services. CaringInfo’s goal is that all people are making informed decisions about their care.
Everplans is a digital vault that you fill over time. It also has many plans available, and there is an app option for your digital devices. “Covers everything: personal and family organization, getting your money and health information together, getting your digital life under control, as well as estate planning and beyond.”
The Conversation Project is a cool initiative created around the desires of older adults. “Our goal is both simple and transformative: to help everyone talk about their wishes for care through the end of life, so those wishes can be understood and respected.” All of the resources are free and many are the “how-tos” around having these tough conversations surrounding the decisions that are needing to be made around your aging relation or friend.
Eldercaresolutions is another way to plan for an aging adult. “We’re on a mission to ensure that aging and caring for an aging loved one won’t financially break families! Across the U.S., getting the care our aging loved ones need is devastating our financial futures. We want to change that. ”
National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) -it will take the average family 13 months to settle a loved one’s affairs; that grows to 20 months if the estate goes into a probate process. Death and taxes are not a joke. If you don’t have an end-of-life plan, your state’s laws decide who gets everything you own -so, getting prepared is a big deal that shouldn’t be avoided. The main thing is to start early and update information regularly.
Your parents raised and cared for you. By helping our parents get organized and have good resources, they will be helping you, their child, deal with the already difficult situation of their eventual passing with all of this planning in place.
It’s also a great reminder that we are getting no younger ourselves, and we need to make sure that all of our own details are organized as well for our own children…
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