Planning Ahead: How to Discuss and Document Your Final Wishes

Are you planning ahead and preparing for the future? End-of-life planning is a topic that may seem daunting and many shy away from, but it’s an essential part of life. By discussing and documenting your final wishes, you can ensure that your desires for your life celebration are fulfilled, and in turn ease the burden on your loved ones in a difficult and challenging time.
At Horizon we have created a Final Wishes Worksheet, that will be introduced through this post, which can help you facilitate this important conversation and provide guidance on how you would like your life celebrated.

The Importance of Discussing Final Wishes

Being able to discuss your final wishes with your loved ones is very important as it can provide clarity and peace of mind for both you and them. End-of-life planning is often overlooked in life planning although such an important aspect. It is especially reassuring that in a time of grief, after having these conversations, your family or friends can avoid the stress of having to try make all the decisions in preparing your final arrangements during challenging times.

Overcoming the Challenges

We understand that bringing up the topic of end-of-life planning with your family and friends can be a challenging conversation to start. Start by choosing a calm, comfortable setting and be open about your intentions. It helps in starting this conversation to acknowledge the discomfort that may come with it, to make your family and friends feel at ease that is difficult for all parties, then go on to emphasise the practicality and emotional benefits of you all having this discussion.

Documenting Your Wishes

As previously mentioned, we have a Final Wishes Worksheet that we have designed to make documenting your wishes straightforward and easy to interpret for your loved ones. The worksheet is thorough and covers many aspects that if not provided, your loved ones may struggle making decisions about. By having your wishes in writing, it removes any ambiguity about your preferences for your end-of-life arrangements and provides a straightforward reference for your loved ones when they may need it most in their time of grief.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Using the Worksheet

The worksheet covers various aspects of end-of-life planning, ensuring the majority of what your loved ones are required to provide information on, they will have. As you fill it out, it’s important to take your time and reflect on each section. It may be overwhelming to be putting thought into each topic in such detail, so take your time and ensure you are comfortable with your preferences for your final arrangements. If needed, it may be helpful and less daunting to have your loved ones assist you with the worksheet or even all of you do your own at the same time. It’s likely to spark some interesting insights. The ability to be thorough and thoughtful is crucial in ensuring your wishes are clearly articulated and easy to understand. 

Sharing with Loved Ones

Once you have gone through and completed the worksheet, it’s time to share it with your loved ones. You may want to go through the worksheet together so you are able to answer any questions your family and friends may have, which ensures that in the future they are clear with your final wishes. Storing the worksheet in a secure yet accessible location is very important. A suggestion is to keep it with your important documents file along with your Will, passport, birth certificate etc. You may wish to also share the worksheet with your attorney in addition to your family and friends. The worksheet needs to be located, in the event your loved ones require it. Having this worksheet accessible will bring you peace of mind knowing your family can easily access this information when needed without having to worry about where to find it.

Supporting Your Plans Financially

The best way to ensure your final arrangements are carried out as you’ve planned for, is to support them financially. Financial planning is an integral part of end-of-life arrangements, so you will need to think about ways you can provide this support for your final plans. Some ways to do this is to consider a special rainy day account that could be used for any kind of emergency or having an insurance policy that will be able to financially support your plans, easing the burden on your loved ones.

Although often an overlooked part of life planning, it is crucial that you document your final wishes and have the conversations with your family and friends. Don’t leave your final wishes to chance and ease the burden on your family and friends when it comes to the difficult time of planning your life celebration. Our Final Wishes Worksheet provides you with a straightforward tool to assist in facilitating these important conversations.

One of Horizon Values is we’re all about our customers. We’re here for you. At the most difficult time for you and your loved ones, we believe the Final Wishes Worksheet takes some of the pressure off decision making. You can access our Final Wishes Worksheet here and start the conversation.

Horizon Bank has a branch network spanning the Illawarra and South Coast with offices at: Thirroul, Wollongong, Albion Park, Berry, Nowra, Ulladulla, Moruya, Bega, Bermagui and Merimbula.