Increasingly, funeral directors across the country are urging people to break the taboo and discuss with family and friends the difficult subject of their own end of life care. For many people this is a subject to be put off as long as possible, but as many funeral directors know from personal experience, this can mean that your own wishes are not known about when the time does come.
With this in mind, The National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF), an industry body representing more than 870 privately owned, independent funeral homes in the UK, has launched a new booklet entitled “Five Things to Think About Before You Die”.
Inside, the booklet contains a number questions and points for you to consider in order for you to fully record your end of life wishes, both for yourself and for your loved ones. It is designed to give you the opportunity to ask the right questions about your end of life wishes and enable you to make the appropriate decisions whilst you are still mentally able to do so.
The booklet outlines five key areas to consider, which are laid out as follows:
- Make a Will
Outline your inheritance wishes, ensuring that your estate is divided according to your wishes. This section can also include details about your online or social media accounts so that your relatives can make the appropriate decisions about your various accounts and safeguard your digital legacy.
- Record your funeral wishes
This includes whether you wish to be cremated or buried, your preferred choice of venue, the details of your funeral itself (for example your choice of flowers, music, poetry or readings) and other aspects of your funeral wishes. This section can also help your family to avoid issues with funeral expenses.
- Plan your future care and support
This section covers many practical issues concerning your future care and support, such as where you would like to be cared for, if you need to incorporate any religious or spiritual beliefs into your care, any personal preferences and who should look after your pets should you own any.
- Register as an organ donor
Ensure that loved ones are aware that you are registered as an organ donor. If you are not already registered as a donor on the NHS Organ Donor Register, consider if this is something you may be comfortable with.
- Tell your loved ones your wishes
Leave any important messages and tell your loved ones your wishes concerning the location of important documentation (for example bank statements). Also, make sure that a trusted friend or somebody in your family knows where the booklet is being kept.
Above all, the booklet is designed to answer any questions that may otherwise go unanswered and give you the opportunity to record your wishes and choices. If you would like any assistance with any aspect of your end of life planning please visit us at John G Hogg Funeral Directors at one of our Sunderland offices.