General News · 21st February 2021
Our final Zoom session in this Preparing For Death series is Feb 25th, 2:00 – 3:30 pm. Email for Zoom link. Feel free to join even if you've missed the other sessions. If you'd like some help and don't Zoom, contact me anyway.
Following are a series of questions that may inspire you to see your end of life planning in a more personal context, as more than a series of steps to not procrastinate. May you view your life from the end backward, to today, so that when death comes it is not unexpected, but rather the friend who has been accompanying you and given your life meaning all along.
Do you realize that one day you will actually, really, die? That everything you’ve accumulated in this lifetime will be left for others to tend to? This includes not only your material possessions, but also your unresolved resentments, unhealed wounds, unspoken words, and the scars you may have left on the planet. Imagine yourself on your deathbed. What burdens do you need to let go of? What needs tending to?
What can you contribute to the people and places you love, to make life more wonderful for them? How will they remember you? What do you value, and how does the life you are living now line up with these values?
If you have children who can’t look after themselves, who will take care of them if you should die while they are still dependent? Do you have a Will naming the guardian(s) you’ve chosen? Have they agreed to the task? Are there funds available to care for them?
Knowing that someone will need to take care of all your accumulated possessions, have you made it easy for them? What can you let go of or simplify now? Do you have a list of everything you own, including the supporting documents? Is there a provision for some immediate cash for this person to work with? Have you thought about your overall tax burden, and taken steps to minimize this, so that more of what you own can go to the people, organizations, and places you value?
Do you have a Will, naming the organized Canadian who is to look after your estate after you have died? In case that person isn’t available, do you have an alternate person? Have you discussed your wishes with them? Do they have a copy of your Will? Do they know where the original Will, and all the documents and information they need to make their job easier, are?
Who will you pass your accumulated wealth to? Does that feel right to you? Does this line up with your values? Does it make sense to give some possessions or funds away now? If family members are named in your Will, will they feel you are treating them all fairly? Would it make sense to discuss your wishes with them now, while objections can be more easily resolved?
Does your executor know what you would like done with your body after you die? Do your friends and family know what is important to you as you approach death? Do they know what is important to you in the days after death? Have you discussed it with them? Do they have all the information they need? Do they know who to inform about your death?
Have you prepared for the possibility that you may not be able to look after your own finances and legal matters while you are still alive? Is there someone you can trust, someone capable and available, who can look after not just your possessions, but also your needs, if you are unable?
Have you given them legal authority to do this by creating a Power of Attorney document?
Have you prepared for the possibility that you may not be able to communicate the decisions that may need to be made regarding your health? What do you value? At what point is life no longer worth living for you? What really matters? Is this documented? Do your health care professionals know? Have you discussed this with those close to you? Do you have someone you would like to speak for you, and have you given them this authority in a Representation Agreement?
Do you own a business? If it can continue without you, how can you make this more likely? Who could take it on? What would they need to know?
May these questions make you aware of the areas in your life that still need your attention, and kindness motivate you to tend to them.