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How to Assure Your Wishes at Death Are Met

    • 1). Write down your wishes, preferably in the form of a will or living will. Do not automatically assume that your family or friends will do what you have verbally expressed as wishes. It has to be in writing so there are no unanswered questions. Save your family a lot of grief by putting everything in writing.

    • 2). Devise a living will. This form allows you to die the way you want to die. If you do not want to be resuscitated you are considered "do not resuscitate" (DNR). You will be given a wrist band with DNR written on it when you enter the hospital. If you do not want extreme measures done, such as intubation, life support or feeding tubes, say so in your living will. An attorney can help you with the living will or you can go online and print a living will form and do it yourself. Let your family members and doctor know that you have a living will.

    • 3). Draft a will. An attorney can help you or you can do it yourself. Write down exactly how you want your estate, your money and your possessions to be distributed. Be specific. Name your beneficiaries. Sign and date it. You should have a witness if possible. Put it in a safe place but tell someone where it is. A safety deposit box or a safe are good places to put it.

    • 4). Establish a power of attorney (POA) and let him know about your living will, your will and where they are. You may want to give him a copy. Specify if he is a general POA or medical POA, or both. If he is a medical POA he will be making medical decisions, including your chosen manner of death, based on your expressed wishes. If he is not the medical POA but the general POA he will see that your possessions are properly distributed after your death. The general POA works with your attorney to settle your estate.

    • 5). Plan your funeral in advance. Pick a funeral home and meet with the director. Tell him what type of service you want. Appoint your pall bearers. You can even pick the songs that you want played. Tell the funeral director if you want to be cremated or embalmed. Inform him of any religious rules regarding burial that he must abide by. If you want a closed casket or want to be buried in a certain outfit, let him know. Tell your POA or someone in your family or a friend that you have pre-planned your funeral. You can give them a copy of the plan. Pick out your casket, vault and cemetery plot. Pay in advance for the service, casket, vault and burial plot if you are able to.

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