Without communication and understanding, terminal illness or approaching the end of life can be a painfully lonely and stressful experience for the person dying and their friends and family.

Addressing the subject of dying and planning for end of life, will ensure your loved one’s wishes are respected and improve the experience for all involved.

The checklist below includes some of the areas people often leave too late to discuss. Because it may not be easy to talk about, you could leave this information with your relative for their consideration.

When planning ahead for yourself, it’s important to think about all the things you want well in advance, talk to your family, write it down and keep it safe. Remember, you can always change or update these plans later.

Consider legal and financial matters

Write a will setting out your wishes for your personal effects and financial affairs to avoid difficult legal issues for your family – and make sure you take legal advice if needed.

If you need to, make financial plans to ensure the people you care about are protected.

Write down your funeral wishes so your family knows what you would like, and consider how funeral costs would be met.

Plan for your future care and support, for example by setting up a lasting power of attorney (LPA) for health and welfare as well as an LPA for property and financial affairs, in case there comes a time that you are unable to make health, wellbeing or financial decisions for yourself.

Consider writing an advance care plan setting out your wishes for care and support at the end of life or an advanced decision to refuse treatment stating what you do not want.

Make a plan for what you want when you die, here are some things to consider.

  • The type of care you would like towards the end of life.
  • Where you would like to die.
  • Whether you have any worries that you’d like to discuss about being ill and dying.
  • Whether you want to be resuscitated.
  • Whether there are treatments you want to refuse.

Save other lives – through organ donation

  • If you want to be considered as an organ donor it’s essential you register and share your wishes with those close to you. Or you may want to leave your brain or body to medical research, for example for dementia research.

Consider how you would like to be remembered

  • What would you like people to know before you die.
  • Think about messages, memory boxes, or videos for loved ones.
  • Consider your digital legacy – would you like to be remembered online, and what do you wish to happen with any social media accounts.