end of life planning

What Is End-of-Life Planning?

Thinking of end-of-life planning can feel uncomfortable and cause some anxiety. It isn’t common to think about the end of life when it seems so far off. Planning for retirement might feel more comfortable because the thought of spending time doing the things you love – rather than working towards retiring – is exciting and rewarding after a long career; however, it’s just as important to think about and plan for the inevitable winding down of life. 

End of Life Planning

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Why End-of-Life Planning Matters

There’s no easy way to think about death or even an illness or accident. It’s much easier to think about being vital and healthy. Focusing on health is important. Doing the things you can to stay healthy – like eating right, exercising, and keeping a healthy mindset – is sure to help keep you fit and focused on a great life. Not thinking about end-of-life matters won’t make the inevitable any easier or make it go away. One thing we all have in common is we are going to pass away – we just don’t know when or how. It’s life’s biggest personal mystery. 

End-of-life planning matters because there are many things you can do to make things easier for yourself and your family. There are steps you can take to be ready if/when you face an accident, an illness, or your life ends. Many people are afraid to “tempt fate” or “bring about what you think about.” These are immature ways of looking at a very mature subject. 

End-of-life planning isn’t just about your funeral. It’s about important aspects of living such as: 

  • Protecting your assets
  • Having important medical documents if you are unable to communicate
  • Having income for retirement, illness, or long-term care
  • Communicating your wishes with others
  • Pre-need funeral planning 

It might feel strange thinking about or taking action regarding end-of-life matters but, like anything else, the more you engage in the tasks, the easier and more natural they will feel. Before you know it, speaking to professionals about your needs and sharing the information with your family will feel a lot less odd and a lot more responsible – something to be proud of

Don’t let the fear of the unknown and the morbid aspects of end of life planning scare you. Be brave and do what it takes to plan ahead so you and your family are prepared and ready to face end-of-life issues. 

Get Comfortable Talking About Uncomfortable Things 

end of life planningThere are things you generally don’t talk about in polite company- politics and religion top the list. Being considerate about tricky topics is a good thing. Avoiding uncomfortable things helps people feel at ease but sometimes you have to get comfortable talking about uncomfortable things. 

Talking about death, dying, and making plans might feel morbid but it is a necessary part of living. Being able to share your thoughts about things like: 

  • What sort of care you consent to in the event of an accident or injury
  • If you want to be revived or kept on life support
  • Where you want to live in the event you can’t live at home
  • Who should make medical or other decisions on your behalf if you are unable
  • Your thoughts on funeral planning and burial options

One of the reasons it’s so hard to talk about uncomfortable things is the feeling there is little control. The truth is, if you do not have plans in place, you’ll have very little control but if you do have plans in place, much of your care and aftercare is well within your control. All the more reason to have tough talks!  

Tips on Talking about End-of-Life Planning

Here are some tips for getting comfortable talking about uncomfortable things:


Tip #1. Do your homework – The more you know about a subject, the less uncomfortable it is. There’s nothing you can’t learn about any subject connected to the legal, financial, and medical aspects of end-of-life care. Educate yourself and you will be well equipped to have intelligent and easier talks about the subjects. 

Tip #2. Prepare your audience – If you are going to have an uncomfortable discussion, prepare your family or friends beforehand. Don’t blindside someone with a tough talk they may not be emotionally ready for. Instead, give them time to get ready and be mentally prepared to absorb what you need to share. 

Tip #3. Practice – The more often you talk about uncomfortable things, the easier it will be. Start with professionals like clergy, medical staff, or attorneys before chatting with family or friends. Practicing your conversation will help you find the best words to use as well as become more comfortable speaking them. 

Some conversations are going to be tough no matter what. Being able to speak about uncomfortable things more comfortably helps those who depend on you feel safer and more prepared to help when the time comes.

Get comfortable by doing your homework, prepping your audience, and practicing your conversation beforehand.  Get help from RocketLawyer.



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20 Comments

  1. Eileen M Loya says:

    This is a very uncomfortable topic to discuss with your loved ones, but it is imperative that we do so. Just think about the ones you will be leaving behind. That is my motivation for putting my affairs in place and getting life / funeral plans.

  2. Sometimes we do need to plan for the hard stuff, thanks for the valuable information. I need to think about my own plans

  3. I believe it is important to prepare for end of life, early. I have prepared my pension for when I retire, and I have started paying for memorial plans too. I am not very young. I am 38 and I believe these things have to be talked about because as they say, two things are certain–DEATH and taxes.

  4. I have anxiety attacks whenever I think of these things but thanks for reminding of its necessity.

  5. Erik the Hungry Traveller says:

    These are difficult discussions but must happen. My family members including me have memorial plans. It’s a bit strange but death also means expenses for the loved ones left behind.

  6. I recently had a short talk about it with my partner – no matter how important, it’s a scary thing to think/talk about

  7. End of life planning does sound morbid but its real life. I had a convo with my parents for them because its a convo we should have for the future of their lives and legacy.

  8. If I can definitely avoid this I will. I don`t even like to talk about it or deal with it, I know its important but somehow I don`t have strength for it.

  9. Love this post. My parents, who are in their early 70s now, have already talked to both my brother and I about everything that will happen upon their death. From their wills, etc. We know what to expect and I think that it takes a burden off the kids when there is end of life and estate planning.

  10. It’s so scary that I will have to have this conversation someday when I am old. However, I admire how my father had this conversation with us – elegantly, assertively yet lovingly! This post is helpful.

  11. I think it’s important to talk about it and be ready when the first thing happens, so the people close to you know your wishes.

  12. This is a conversation I don’t want to have with my kiddos. Yet, being in my 40s now, I now it is an event that will come rather I like it or not.

  13. End of life planning is very important but sadly something that most of us ignore until it is far too late. Thank you for this encouragement.

  14. It is good to have plans and preparations, even when we are young. I have been through losing a loved one who had no will, and it was a very difficult situation.

  15. I think this a must read. We never know when our time is up and I’ve seen plenty of people die before their time (or what you would expect). Don’t leave this stuff until you are 80!

  16. I don’t even want to deal with this topic, but I know it’s important. Glad you shared some information and tips.

  17. Rose Ann Sales says:

    Great reasons on planning for our permanent leave. It sounds awful but it is really something worth talking and planning ahead.

  18. Kristine Nicole Alessandra says:

    This is something we have to do to ease the burden for those we will leave behind. It is better to have your affairs in order, assign a trustee and get a memorial/funeral plan. This is what me and my husband take care of every New Year.

  19. Neely Moldovan says:

    Ugh definetely not something anyone wants to do but it is important! I hate thinking about it

  20. This is a remarkably prudent post, thank you for discussing a topic that is all too often avoided.

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