death doula

Journey Through Life & Death: The Living Will

Hello friends! It’s been a hot minute. I had a family emergency that has been requiring a lot of time and focus lately so my projects had to be set aside for a little while. The unfortunate irony is that my family emergency pretty much had everything to do with this series. The fortunate part is that my family member is doing much better, which makes me so happy but he did give us quite a scare.

So let’s review…. First we gathered our supplies. Second, we filled out our advance directive which consisted of the heath care proxy/durable medical power of attorney form, the living will, and perhaps organ donation information. Now we’re on to our third step which is a more robust version of the living will. As you probably noticed, the living will in the advance directive was rather….basic. It doesn’t really cover much. Remember, the idea of this is to make it so your loved ones have clear, concise directions, instead of wringing their hands and pulling their hair out. Ambiguity is not a nice parting gift.

The first thing that I would suggest is ordering a copy of the Five Wishes (https://fivewishes.org). It’s a legally binding living will, meets HIPAA requirements, is recognized in most states and most states don’t require it to be notarized. Moreover, it covers some emotional and spiritual aspects of dying that the advance directive fails to. Individual copies are $5.00 and once you’re done filling it out you can make copies for your medical team, loved ones, your proxy and your refrigerator folder.

The next thing that I would strongly suggest is going to Cake (https://www.joincake.com), sign up, and create an end of life plan with them. It’s totally free! What’s great about Cake is they ask you in-depth questions that a proxy and loved ones would need to know: from what music you’d like at your funeral to who should care for your pets, etc… This is the kind of detail that I like to see. Plus, once you’re done, you can email your proxy and loved ones a link to your answers on their site. Remember to print out copies as well because the last thing anyone is going to remember is that there is a site called “Cake” that has your wishes on it that you may have sent them years ago. That’s why I like to do a combo of Five Wishes and Cake.

Okay, you have your homework. Now get to it. Remember, if you have any questions, feel free to contact me.