Planning Ahead — a Gift to Your Loved Ones
In my more recent columns, I have been writing about wrestling with end-stage pulmonary fibrosis and sharing my experience with seeking palliative care. As you can tell, I like planning ahead to take care of my own needs and the needs of my loved ones.
My latest project is compiling important information all in one place. This includes all my personal and medical information, details about my loved ones, legal and financial matters, and end-of-life instructions.
I’m sure there are plenty of helpful resources out there that can help with planning ahead. The one I’m using is the Peace of Mind Planner (don’t worry, I’m not receiving anything by recommending it).
- My Personal Information
- My Medical Information
- Key Contact Information
- At the Time of My Passing
- My Dependents
- Important Documents
- Financial Information
- Commercial/Business Information
- What Beneficiaries Can Expect
- Personal Property
- My Pets
- What to Pay, Close, and Cancel
- Email and Social Media
- Miscellaneous Information
- My Personal Wishes
- Last Words
It is a spiral-bound hardcover book that has all these sections to fill in. Of course, I don’t have to fill everything in, but it is wonderfully helpful to not have to think about all the categories myself.
It can be intimidating
It feels a bit daunting, but I’ve figured out a way to do it that isn’t overwhelming. In the evening, my hubby and I like to watch some of our favorite TV shows together. We are especially partial to English detective shows! During the shows, I fill in some of the pages. If a particular question requires me to get up to get information, I use a sticky note to remind me to answer the question at a later time.
Some of the more heartfelt answers will take more thought, so it won’t be done during a TV show. I’ve found that this system is helping me make progress, not getting too bogged down.
This is a gift to my loved ones
I do consider this a gift of love to my family. I don’t want to leave my husband and adult children with the burden of having to sort out financial problems when I pass away. They will have enough to deal with as it is.
Part of my resolve comes from my husband and I sorting out my father-in-law’s financial affairs when he became incapacitated a year ago. He has since passed away. It has been a very difficult process to go through because he did not plan ahead.
Things were in disarray; taxes had not been filed, important paperwork was missing, bills had not been paid, and we had great difficulty accessing his funds. This caused problems that took many months to unravel.
I learned a lot from being on the receiving end of his financial affairs not being in order, and don’t want my husband or children to go through this. It’s normal to want to put this reality on the back burner. I’m grateful I have the strength to do this now, and I feel relieved and happy to know that compiling important information all in one place is a way of loving my family.
What do you think?
I’d love to hear what you’ve done to help your family with what lies ahead by planning ahead. Do you have a system for compiling necessary information for your loved ones? Please leave a comment below, and share with those who could benefit via email or on social media. We’re in this together!
Note: Pulmonary Fibrosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Fibrosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary fibrosis.