You’re young, you’re healthy… why should you need to think about end-of-life problems? The truth is that too many young Americans ignore the prospect of death. If you don’t plan ahead a tiny bit, your finances, possessions, and general wishes can be in total disarray. Failing to plan leaves your loved ones with stress and confusion.
Think about it: how many young people do you know who went through an extended sickness before death? It happens, of course. Cancers, genetic diseases, and viruses are fairly common. But most young people die suddenly, without much warning. If you think of it this way, only around 5.4% of American hospice patients were under the age of 65 in 2015. The bottom line is that you often don’t know when your time will be up.
Peace Of Mind About The Inevitable
So what can young people do to have more peace of mind about the inevitable? Here are a few things you can do at any age to have your affairs in order:
- Create an official living will.
- Establish who in your life should have power of attorney for you.
- Write a living will, or an advanced directive, for your person with power of attorney to follow.
- Establish a guardian for any children, dependents, or pets you have.
- Plan your own funeral. With the right mindset, this can actually be pretty satisfying. You can let your loved ones know exactly how you want your life celebrated.
- Decide how you’d want your remains treated. Do you want to be an organ donor? Do you want to be cremated, or have a natural burial? Something different? You decide.
Who should you talk to? Talk to your family, your friends, your trusted people. Choose a trusted attorney to make all the papers official (so people are obligated to follow your instructions later). Talk to a therapist, if you like.
Hire a Death Doula
Another emerging modern option is a professional called a “death doula”, or “death midwife”. Death doulas are experienced people who help others plan the end of their life. Sometimes they have other professional training like as an attorney, mortician, or doctor, but sometimes not. Death doulas essentially guide people holistically and compassionately through the death process. Sometimes they help non-dying folks with planning. Often they help terminally ill or very elderly people flesh out their wishes for their end of life. Death doulas act as a third party that protects the wishes of the client and remind those involved that death is a natural part of life.
All in all, it’s a good idea at any adult age to establish how your death would be handled. It saves your loved ones so much time, money, and emotional labor. Once you tackle all these slightly daunting tasks, you might be surprised how at peace you feel with your own future.
Have you ever asked yourself, how do I financially deal with death? If so, tell us about it in the comments below.