“Prepare the umbrella before it rains.”

– Malay Proverb

Death is an essential part of life. It eventually happens to us all.  Here at Dying to Understand, we know that there is never a good time to die and that dying is filled with challenges. As much as this is difficult and it sometimes seems easier to avoid the matters of dying,  there are a few vital things that must be done to prepare for death.

When someone gets told they are dying, they and the ones they love become overwhelmed with emotion. This is normal and is actually a good thing, as it takes time to work through these powerful emotions. There is, however, an important practical side that must be faced in spite of these emotions. While it may be a good euphemism to be told to ‘get your affairs in order’, most people don’t necessarily understand what this entails. In short, it means that essential things must be done before death and these things include wills, power of attorney, estate planning etc.

Getting this done in preparation for dying requires professional help, crystal clear communication and, most importantly, gives you have a sense of doing something positive even if you think the tasks as a negative

Death and dying can lead to chaos, but it doesn’t have to. Getting things done now and doing them right will ensure that there is no room for miscommunication about our wishes when we can no longer communicate. This will protect those left behind from being disadvantaged, and save hours of time and untold distress when all that is left to go on is the best guess. We owe it to our loved ones to have our affairs in order, even if it is just to make things a little easier once we’re gone. Let this be one of our legacies.

Personal

When it comes to dying, we can never be too prepared. Death has a way of being permanent and anything left undone remains undone. There are lots to do, but don’t get overwhelmed. Make a list of things that need to be done or organised and use our tool to help make sure you’ve got it all covered.

Legal Matters 

When it comes to death and dying, expressing your views via legally supported documentation is essential. Usually, these legal documents take the form of testaments and wills, a power of attorney, estate planning and other matters your lawyer may consider. Whatever you do, try to avoid doing it yourself as it won’t survive if the vultures come, as they do, after death. Money spent on good legal documents and advice turns out to be cheap in comparison to drawn-out court cases when someone contests a will.

Estate Planning & Financial Matters

Even though you cannot take it with you when you die, you do want to ensure that your assets are protected. Seeking financial advice about estate planning before dying is essential. Why pay unnecessary tax and fees if you can avoid it. Seeking professional help to ensure your estate and other assets are safe and directed where you want is of utmost importance for both you and your family or friends.

Medical

Stay in control even when you are not. When your health is fading and death is nearer, medical care will undoubtedly increase and your wishes associated with this care are important.

Important things to consider to support the dying process are advanced directives, resuscitation instructions and, most importantly, exploring the benefits of palliative care. It’s important for living and for dying to be informed.

Funerals and Cremations

After death comes the funeral or the farewell. Most people think of funerals or cremations negatively. They are not bad, they are events that play an essential function in society and are an important part in the dying process in that they honour the life lived, deal with grief and, most importantly, dispose of the deceased body. 

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