Have you given a lot of thought to your final wishes? Organizing and sharing your final wishes may not be on your radar at all. We get it — it’s easy to prioritize other things. Think it sounds odd to start planning your own memorial or funeral service? It’s actually one of the most thoughtful things you can do for your loved ones.
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Cake makes it easy to plan even your smallest final wishes for free. We’ll walk you through everything you need to consider so you and your loved ones can rest easy and focus on what matters — honoring you. This includes what wishes you should detail, from your funeral and burial to your financial and legal wishes, medical and health wishes, as well as legacy wishes.
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Create a free Cake end-of-life planning profile and instantly share your health, legal, funeral, and legacy decisions with a loved one.
Go Through a Final Wishes Checklist
When it comes to end-of-life planning, checklists are incredibly helpful. However, for both your peace of mind and your family’s, there are many things you can nail down beforehand.
Funeral and burial wishes
Did you know that there is such a thing as a living funeral? In addition to funeral activities, the venue, reception, and burial, it may also be wise to plan for the cost of your funeral and whether you’d like to set aside any funds for yourself. Are you proudly nontraditional? If so, there are several burial options available that you may not be aware of. Here are a few other key questions to consider.
- Where would you like your funeral held? Do you want your funeral held at a specific funeral home? Or do you want it held in a non-traditional venue, like the beach? Think about what makes the most sense for not only your guests but your specific wishes.
- What type of funeral would you like to have? Do you want your funeral to be quiet and reflective? Or do you want it to be a raucous celebration of your life? Are there any activities you’d like your guests to take part in or music you’d like played? Think of your funeral as an event to honor your life.
- How would you like to be buried? Do you want to be embalmed or cremated? Think maybe you’d like a natural or green burial? Think about the financial implications of each of these options as well.
- Where would you like to be buried or scattered? Do you have a family burial plot or a sacred place where you’d like your ashes scattered? Consider whether your loved ones can easily visit the location you choose.
- Who do you want to attend your funeral? It’s not petty to request that certain people not attend your funeral. Your funeral should honor you and your family’s peace of mind above anything else. Think about your guest list carefully.
Financial and legal wishes
Beyond making specific requests and plans for your funeral or burial, there are perhaps the more important financial and legal implications to consider. Regardless of how civil your family unit is, everyone should organize and share their financial and legal wishes the best they can prior to the end of their life. Here are a few things to consider.
- Do you want to make any charitable donations? In the event of your death, charitable donations can be made either directly from your accounts or, for example, in your name in lieu of funeral flowers. What organizations or causes are you passionate about? Are there any that helped you prior to your death?
- Who do you want (or not want) in your will? Writing a will is a serious process. Who you want (or don’t want) in it should be decided after significant consideration.
- What properties or valuables are you leaving behind? Do you have multiple homes or properties? What about businesses or stocks? Any prized pieces of art? Think about each of these and how you’d like to handle them.
- Are you leaving behind any pets or other dependents? Are you a single parent? If so, think about who you’d like to have care for your pets and dependents when you die. Have you already determined your child’s godparents? Check-in with these individuals about this responsibility every so often.
- Are there any additional stipulations? Are you leaving behind valuables or financial assets with any parameters? Do the recipients have to reach a certain age before they receive them? Think about the legalities of these stipulations and how it may impact the recipients.
Medical and health wishes
What do you want to have happen to your body prior to and after your death? Though it’s wise to think about your loved ones’ feelings, it’s ultimately your choice. From the type of care you’d like to receive in the event of a serious illness, to care that may prolong your life, it’s wise to plan ahead in the event that you’re unable to answer for yourself when the time comes.
For example, becoming an organ donor is a way to impact the lives of many people after you die and can even save many lives in your honor. Here’s what you should think about, if not all at once.
- Do you want to be resuscitated? You can fill out what is called a do not resuscitate order (DNR). Think about how this choice will impact your family members both emotionally and financially. Learn more about a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order.
- Do you want to be on life support? This is another decision that incorporates both your family’s emotions as well as their financial stability. In the event that your health declines to the point that you’re in a comatose state or have to be on a breathing machine, do you want to continue receiving these treatments? They can be costly and may also place a significant burden on your loved ones.
- Do you want to be an organ donor? How you dictate this may depend on your state. Some states even allow you to specify whether you’d like all of your organs to be donated or just specific ones. Becoming an organ donor is a significant decision that can impact many lives for the better.
- Do you want to donate your body to science? Donating your body to science creates an opportunity for others to learn about your cause of death and other bodily processes. Though this is ultimately your decision, consider your loved ones’ feelings about this as well.
- Do you want to be put in hospice or remain at home? If your health declines, do you want to continue receiving palliative care in a facility or in your own home? Do you need to invest any funds to do so? When the time comes, you may also consider whether you’d like to pass away in your own home or if you’re okay with dying in a hospital or similar facility.
A legacy refers to what you leave behind. It may not be tangible at all, but rather, what people remember about you. From your digital legacy to other wishes, what do you want your loved ones to be aware of or do in your honor? Here are a few things to consider.
- Do you have a digital legacy plan? A digital legacy plan can cover things like your online presence, digital assets, online finances, and your digital devices. You’ll have to consider whether your passwords are accessible and if they’re available to someone you trust.
- How would you like to be remembered? For the intangible areas of your legacy, you may consider what sort of mantras or quotes you’d like people to associate with you — you may not be able to control all of it but it’s worth a shot!
- Is there anything you want your loved ones to do in your honor? Are there any daily practices you want your family to start doing, like living more freely or spending more time together? Think of them as an avenue to continue a bucket list you may have started.
- Are there any traditions you’d like your family to uphold? Want your loved ones to take a ski trip every year in your honor? Have something else in mind for them to celebrate your death anniversary? Let them know.
- Is there any other information you want your loved ones to know? Are there any other notes, wishes, or requests you have of your loved ones either before or after your death? Don’t miss an opportunity to share this information now or record it for them to review when the time comes.
Store and Share Your Wishes for Free
Wondering if there’s a way to organize and share all of these wishes in a convenient, secure way?
As you develop your final wishes, you can easily update them as you see fit. You can also share them with as many or as few people as you’d like—and they get instant access to your wishes.
Get Your Final Wishes Organized
Organizing and sharing your final wishes now allows you to be freer to enjoy your life till they’re needed. You and your family will rest easy knowing that the future is accounted for and can have honest, open conversations about your final wishes.
One of the best parts about storing your wishes on a free digital platform like Cake is that you can continue to update your profile as you see fit.
Looking for more ways to get organized? Read our guide on how to organize thousand of computer files for more.