Do you plan ahead?

Exit is mostly about how to end your life in circumstances of unbearable and unrelievable suffering. But once we’ve got the mechanics of self-deliverance as second-knowledge, once we’ve made our peace with ourselves and others, there are still a million and one things to get sorted out. This post is dedicated to a few of the ones that can sometimes too easily get overlooked.

Funerals. Basically, we’re often paying too much for them. Costs for the same service vary enormously, and Which magazine has found that official guidelines for funeral directors are often not followed. Click here for ten tips on things to look out for, as well as comparing costs. (While we’re not making specific recommendations, you could perhaps do worse than look at the company suggested by the picture – click here.)

Documents. If you might be planning your own demise one day, presumably you’ll have enough time to sort out documents like bank accounts, life assurance, mortgage and utility services – as well as your doctor and solicitor’s name, address and phone number – all of which should be placed where they can easily be found by persons responsible. But organising it doesn’t have to be a chore of gigantic proportions.

The ‘Lifebox.’ One option – and totally free – is an online list of What your family need to know which comes in a package called Lifebox Basic. It includes your funeral wishes, letter of other wishes, your Will, personal details and even music playlists so people will know whether you want to be cremated to the strains of Led Zeppelin or Liszt. For a small fee, Lifebox will also provide additional online storage for your documents, music and photos, friends and family details, life story, obituary, your favourite things, scrapbook, secrets, living will and your own personal “death plan.”

A Values History. If that has got you thinking about the sort of useful details you might want people to be aware of, it could be a good idea to make a ‘Values History.’ This is a document that answers questions such as whether you would rather be treated in hospital or at home, who you would like to look after your pets, and various other important and minor-but-still-important details that could be helpful for others in respecting your wishes near the time of your death. You can make your own Values History, or perhaps make a start by cut and pasting the sample questions from the Values History page of the Exit Website.

Of course, if you are already a member of Exit, you will have received a nicely printed Values History in your introduction pack, together with a choice of living will documents. (UK members also have the option of purchasing Five Last Acts II at the greatly reduced price of £20.)

Palliative Care. Finally, we draw your attention to a current news item that says 100,000 terminally ill people in the UK do not get proper palliative care. There are always plans to improve the treatment we get towards the end of life, but most fall short. There is, for instance, a big difference between the pain that can be relieved for many people towards the end of life and that which is relieved in practice. So our advice, in case you can’t wait for the next set of government ‘improvements,’ is to holler! It might sound undemocratic, but practice demonstrates that if you (or someone representing you) can complain loudly enough, then the hospital may well pull out the stops if only to save themselves further embarrassment. (The ultimate example of this is if you can get a TV film crew down to your bedside!)

Happy life  . . . happy death

More links:
See the Good Funeral Guide and blog down the right hand side of this screen

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