How do you prepare to die?

person lying on deathbed

If you have a terminal illness, or are caring for a loved one with a terminal illness, then it’s important not to avoid the topic of death. When a person knows they are going to die in the near future, they need to prepare for it emotionally, as well as taking control of their passing. You have the power to make decisions about what happens after you die – so make sure you are well prepared for the day when it comes.

You and your loved ones may be filled with grief, but don’t forget deaths can also cause financial tragedies if preparations are not made in time. The impact on your loved ones could be even worse if you haven’t taken care of your finances or planned ahead for the future.

If you or a loved one are receiving end of life care, you should make a checklist of everything which needs completing. We’ve put together some guidance below.

Make or update your will

Everybody needs to have a Will and Testament, even healthy people who expect to be living for 30+ years. Dying ‘inestate’ or without a will can cause family conflicts, and the government can decide who is entitled to your assets, or take some of them away completely. It’s fairly inexpensive to make a will, so don’t put it off. It helps you make important decisions about who will receive your property and assets after your death.

Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)

If you know you may lose your faculties, you should nominate a trusted family member or friend to make important decisions on your behalf. This is classed as a Lasting Power of Attorney, and the legal document confirms that the nominated person has your permission to take care of your affairs. You need to do this while you are in good health, before the illness takes hold.

Plan your funeral

Tell your loved ones about your funeral wishes so they can be carried out after you die. It’s a good idea to discuss how much you can afford to spend on your funeral, and look at ways of reducing the costs. Making a few simple decisions on funeral planning, such as which music you would like to play and if you’d like to be buried or cremated can really help your bereaved relatives at a difficult time, who would otherwise have to make these decisions on your behalf.

Be at peace with your life

It is only natural, once you know you are going to die, to think back over your life and worry whether you are happy with all the decisions you have made. Try and be at peace with everyone and everything – forgive yourself, and forgive others too. You may want to reach out to people who you have lost contact with, or end an ongoing conflict with a family member. You may also wish to spiritually prepare for your passing if you follow a religion.

If you need further help preparing to die, speak to your doctor who can recommend charities to help you through the process.