Plan for your death

Many people feel awkward about planning for their own inevitable death. To ensure your wishes are followed and to make it easier on your loved ones, consider visiting a qualified lawyer to draft a Will. Some forms can also be downloaded from the Internet or obtained from a doctor or hospital. Here are some issues to consider when making arrangements concerning your death:
Organ and tissue donation:
Consider giving the precious gift of life at no cost to you. Every year, people receive kidneys, livers, and hearts that have been donated for transplantation. However, the need for organ donations far exceeds the supply. One person who donates organs (hearts, lungs, liver, kidneys, pancreas and intestines) can save up to eight lives, while a tissue donor (corneas, bone, skin, heart valves, tendons, veins, etc.) can improve 12 or more lives by restoring eyesight, helping fight infections in burn patients and preventing the loss of mobility and disability.
You can also inquire at a medical college or university near you about donating your body for scientific research.
Health Care Proxy and Living Will:
The health care proxy is a simple document which allows you to name someone (an “agent”) to make health care decisions for you if you are unable to make or communicate those decisions. You may cancel the document at a later date, if you choose to do so. It also gives you the option of listing specific health care wishes. A living will allows you to leave written instructions that explain your health care wishes, especially about end-of-life care, should you be unable to speak for yourself in the future.
Your funeral:
Do you want a traditional burial or a cremation? Do you want your ashes scattered, kept in an urn on a mantle somewhere or buried in a cemetery plot? Consider preplanning and paying in advance for your funeral; this will help your loved ones avoid the burden of making difficult financial choices at an emotional time. Most people tend to overspend when emotions are running high.
Purchasing a burial plot if you don’t have one:
If you have a family burial plot, contact the cemetery to find out how much burial space is left and what your rights are to burial. Some cemeteries require you file an heir update for a small fee, which lists the new generation of family members. If almost all of the burial spaces are gone, devise a back-up plan in the event there are no spaces left when you pass on. If you don’t have a family plot at all, comparison shop among cemeteries, especially those convenient for your loved ones to visit. The cemetery may provide credit arrangements for purchasing in advance.
Whatever your decisions, be sure to discuss your arrangements and wishes with your loved ones.

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