Driving to work one morning, I heard the announcer on the radio talk about what song he wanted played at his funeral and I thought "another person just like me who is already planning for that special day".
And it is a special day; it is a celebration of one's life – My Life. When it's all said and done, who knows you better than yourself, right? Plus, it's a time of sadness for your loved ones and knowing that we have taken a little of the heartache away from them in relating your story can be a worry off their minds. I certainly want my family to laugh, to enjoy the day, my life and me being part of their life.
Not that I expect to die tomorrow or even in the next 10 years; however, I have in mind to prepare a PowerPoint presentation of my life growing up in a loving family, through my adult life, my experiences, my joy, my sadness; all of which make the person I am. Of course my family may wish to say a few words of the way they knew me and the quirky ways they remember how I did things. Being born in the 60s is a far cry from today's young folk and how they do things!
Then there is the right to be buried or cremated, to have a church service or a grave side burial. I want to be cremated and then my ashes placed in the plot with my parents. Funeral houses today offer an opportunity for you to purchase or pay off your funeral prior to the day. You make the choice of the type of coffin you want, the inscription on your plaque; you can also pre-purchase a plot from your local council.
Do you have a will? Everyone should, this is very important. You can either have one drawn up by a solicitor or buy a "Legal Will Kit". Legal Will Kits can be purchased from newsagents. If of course you choose to prepare a will yourself, it is a good idea to take it to your bank for safekeeping, if you don't want to lodge it with a solicitor. You have the ability when you are alive to state how you want things to go when you die, so don't procrastinate, do something about it and there will be no hassles for family or friends wondering what to do when the time comes.
Most documents relating to our lives are located in the one spot, i.e. a filing cabinet or paper file. However, if you do not have a filing cabinet, it is very important you make a list perhaps in a small notebook of where to find these vital documents. We all have lapses in memory as we mature, so this is a good idea. Some of the items listed in this notebook could be the name of your bank, insurance policies, shares and investments, title deeds, items of value, items you wish bequeathed to family and friends, people to be contacted when you die, maybe even who you want to attend you funeral if you wish this to be private. A variety of "personal information" templates can be found on the internet, of which you can fill out or adapt to your individual needs.
If you don't have a solicitor you can organise for the Public Trustee Office to handle your affairs once gone. It is also very important to name an executor of your will, someone who will oversee that everything in your will is how you wanted it. This doesn't have to be a family member but someone you trust to see that your wishes are followed.
Several government websites can clue you up on all the things you need to know, forms you may need to fill out etc. One of these forms is the 'Advance Health Directive" Form 4 Queensland, Powers of Attorney Act 1998 (Section 44(2)), which is available on line from The Department of Justice and Attorney-General. There are explanatory notes in the front and then you can go through the document, filling in the fields you feel are important. To make this legal, you are required to have a 'JP' witness this document before handing a copy to your doctor. It is a good idea to also give a copy to your family so there are no misunderstandings when events occur.
You may think that it is too early in your life to think about these things however as the old saying goes "Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today". This is a true statement because tomorrow you may not be capable of taking care of yourself or your affairs.
This is one of those events none of us can avoid in the end. Death comes to all of us. It's funny the amount of times I've played a song at home & thought I'd like that played at my funeral. Good tips for everyone here Susan.