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End of Life Planning - The Great Taboo

Sheila Hogan | 31 July 2019

One day we will all die. There, I have said it. The great taboo. And given its inevitability we may as well prepare for it. By organising our affairs in advance, we can ensure that we minimise any potential confusion, conflict or ambiguity for those we leave behind. All other important life events - pregnancy and birth, marriage, home ownership - are meticulously planned to ensure they happen in the way we had always hoped for. Our final wishes, on the other hand, are rarely discussed in advance.

Listed below are some areas to consider to provide your loved ones with clarity at the time of your passing. Grief can be all-consuming so anything that can be done in advance to minimise further distress at this difficult time should be embraced.

1. Will - ensure that you have a current will and that your family are aware of where it is stored. It is worth noting that if you are not married or in a civil partnership, your partner will not automatically inherit anything unless it is detailed within your will.

2. It is worth considering inheritance planning if you believe that your estate could be subject to inheritance tax. There are many ways to legally minimise the inheritance tax bill received by your loved ones after your death.

3. Collate important documentation and communicate where this is stored. By having one complete list of your bank account numbers, utility providers, social media and online storage user names, safety deposit box information etc you will simplify the administration of closing them all down. It is not necessary to pass on passwords. The account numbers or usernames along with a copy of your death certificate will suffice. Please ensure that this list is safely stored.

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… in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes. Benjamin Franklin, 1789

4. Consider the ongoing provision of care for any dependents and communicate your wishes. It is important to obtain the agreement of the proposed carer and to use this opportunity to outline any specific wishes you have regarding future care. Any plans that you make need to be detailed in your final wishes.

5. Pets - as with the previous point, it is sensible to think about who would look after any pets you may have when you are no longer around to care for them. The SSPCA and RSPCA provide a ‘Forever care’ / ‘Home for Life’ service that can be organised in advance if you do not have any friends or family willing or able to help. It might also be worth considering leaving a gift in your will to the charity as their service is free.

6. Organ donation - do you wish to donate any or all of your organs and if so have you communicated this intention?

7. Funeral planning - many options exist regarding how your funeral will unfold. Do you wish to be buried or cremated? Flowers or donations? Music preference, hymns, readings or where the wake should be held? Favourite photo for the order of service? Why leave these details to chance when you can ensure that your send-off is exactly as you would wish by planning it in advance.

8. Finally, it is important that you either discuss all of the above with your loved ones or ensure that they know where to find all the relevant information.

Did you know that Biscuit Tin can help you organise, store and manage your end of life planning? Visit us at for more information.

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