Most of us reach a point in our lives where we are reminded of our own mortality. Be that the death or diagnosis of a parent or family member, or of a colleague or friend closer to our own age. Personally, a few things have happened in recent years to remind me that life is precious. And more particularly, the people we love are irreplaceable and won’t always be there. The emotional side of this realisation is extremely difficult. It is natural to spend hours bemoaning the unfairness of a life taken too soon, or a diagnosis that rocks your whole world. Equally, the practical side of death becomes abundantly clear. From funeral costs to how you’ll cope without a loved one, and how they would cope without you. Here are 6 steps you can take to tackle the practicalities of death.
1. Life insurance
The most practical thing you can do to help your family after you are gone is to make sure you have life insurance. The last thing they will need is financial worries at a time of great emotional suffering. Having to have a medical examination puts some people off getting life insurance. This may be due to health concerns, or simply due to anxiety about the process. Whatever is stopping you, there is a practical solution. Did you know that some life insurance providers don’t require a medical examination? This could mean that you are able to buy your life insurance online with no medical exam, making a task from the too-difficult basket a little easier.
2. Funeral plans
Often when someone dies suddenly, their loved ones have no idea how they would have wanted their funeral to be. Whilst it is an emotive topic, discussing your own funeral with your nearest and dearest can provide them a lot of peace of mind when the time comes. They will know that they are honouring your wishes. Ultimately, that’s all any of us want to do when mourning the loss and celebrating the life of a loved one. Last year, I assisted a wheelchair athlete in the Brighton marathon to raise money for Marie Curie. They have some great advice on their website about the practicalities of planning your own funeral.
3. Lasting power of attorney
Recently, a close family member of mine has been diagnosed with a form of dementia. This has led us to think more about the practicalities of caring for somebody who is unable to make decisions for themselves. When looking into funeral plans, I would recommend investigating lasting power of attorney as well. You can use this to enable somebody you trust to make decisions on your behalf should you become incapable of doing so yourself.
4. Legal guardians
As a parent, my main concern about my own mortality is what will happen to my children when I’m gone? I am lucky to have several family members who would be willing and able to look after my children. But how would they know who I would want my children to live with if I don’t tell them? My husband and I need to discuss who would have the children if something happened to us both, and make a legal document to disclose our wishes. I am sure we’re in the majority of parents in terms of our failure to do this so far.
5. Planning for your pets
Providing for our pets after we are gone is incredibly important for many people, particularly those who have no other family. Pets become our family over time, and the thought of leaving them with no-one is heartbreaking. If there is nobody who would have your pet should something happen to you, it is worth looking at the Blue Cross peace of mind service. They will make sure your pet will always be well looked after should something happen to you.
6. Other considerations
Other things you will need to consider when looking at the practical side of your own mortality are:
- Do you have a legally binding will?
- Have you made provisions for your own care?
- Who will support you towards the end of your life?
- Are you an organ donor?