Now, the bad news is, that this post is about death. Few want to talk about that or even hear the word. And pretty much nobody wants to be are reminded that that is coming.
However, that’s not a choice you have to make. It’s coming.
The good news is that if you do just a little homework, you can make it almost guaranteed to turn out the way you want it to.
The choice you have is how painful it will be for you and your family. The choice you have is, ‘Will your wishes be a respected or not.’ The choice you have is will it be mediaeval torture, financial ruin for your extended family, or something that everyone understands, and goes especially well, for everyone involved.
There’s a lot of information about this online. I encourage you to read the excellent article at
But, there’s lots more information out there.
http://deathoverdinner.org/ has been recommended to me
A 2012 survey found that 82% of people believe that it is important to put wishes for their final days in writing, yet only 23% have followed that task through to completion.
(And that also makes me wonder if 18% of the population is brain dead already.)
It is absolutely imperative that you have completed a complete collection of paper work. A CURRENT will, for starters.
It is not bad luck. It is just making it more likely that your wishes will be followed.
Let us suppose that you have someone in the family that you really love dearly, and one or more people that you wish you did not know. Do you really want the deadheads to get all of your estate? Do you really want the people that you love dearly, to destroy several years of their life, making some sleaze ball lawyer ridiculously rich, while the deadheads legally torment your wonderful and lovely relative or friend or wife?
Each state has its own rules. You do not need to hire an attorney, but, if you hire a good one, that may be the safest thing to do. There’s a great deal of information online that is absolutely free.
Do a little bit of homework to become confident that you’re doing it right, under the laws of your home state. Here is just one example of a web site. I have no idea if it is correct, but if you compare several opinions, you should get pretty close.
I was told that if you just write out a very clear set of instructions in your own handwriting and sign it, preferably in front of some witnesses that can be found later, that that is legal. HOWEVER, I’m not a lawyer, and so that maybe nonsense. And by the time you would find out, it would be too late to do it right. So, do your own homework. Here’s that link:
Funeral expenses can be greater than the Gross National Product of a small Central American country. So, this is a very important thing to think about, and make your wishes known. If you do not get them down on legally binding paper, all it takes is one nut case cousin, or uncle, or whatever, to create a travesty of your wishes, and cost the surviving members of your family a huge amount of money and anguish.
I have found that the hospice people, seem to know the very least expensive way to deal with the body. In our family, we prefer cremation over burial, especially NOT wanting a lavish expensive ceremony. In most states, cremation can be done for about $500.
The Celebration of Life that we had for Janet cost about the same. My mom and dad did not want any ceremony. Exactly what do YOU want? Write it down.
Janet and I like to recycle things and have things be useful. We like to not waste stuff. We like to conserve resources. We like for people to learn whenever possible. So, Janet wanted very much to donate her body to the local medical school. Which was totally free, and they were very respectful. We looked into the situation and came away feeling that it was a wonderful opportunity. A new Doctor would learn a tremendous amount from her that could not be learned in the other way.
Janet & I also strongly support organ donation. But, advanced cancer patients are not so good for that.
But this idea is abhorrent to some of you. All I’m asking is that you decide what YOU want. You may find that if you can get a discussion going with the rest of your family, that there will be some surprises. Better to solve these things NOW, than later.
I think that it is YOUR life and your body, and your choice. But, if you want to adjust those choices to accommodate family members that’s up to you. But if you do not have this conversation, you literally have no idea what’s going to happen. And it is pretty much guaranteed to be bad. Someone will be very unhappy. Probably lots of people. A lot of money is going to be wasted. Not all vultures have feathers.
This whole subject gets very intertwined with religion, and the laws of your home state. I’m not telling you what to do. I’m just telling you that you must have this conversation at least in your own head. And you must do something. Even if you’re only 20 years old.
And when something changes in your life, or at least every few years, you should review your decisions, and make sure you’re still happy with them. That cute little girl that your son married, may turn out to be Dracula in drag.
Poop happens. People step in front of the wrong bus every day.
More info at