End-of-life Documentation

While most people understand the significance of a will, many are unfamiliar with other types of valuable end-of-life documentation. Some of these documents are related to healthcare, such as physician orders for life-sustaining treatment or organ donor designation, and some are related to funeral arrangements.

Shelly Becker, Preplanning Specialist at Helke Funeral Home and Cremation Services, knows the importance of preparing files ahead of time. Her top recommendation is that everyone should complete a final wishes organizer. This packet includes information such as military records and emergency contacts. There is an option to specify details related to the funeral service: church affiliations, casket or urn preferences, song selections, flower choices, and even a description of the outfit an individual would like to be buried in. It also provides the opportunity to list all family members so that no one is missing in the obituary when the time comes. The final wishes organizer relieves the burden from family members by ensuring that preferences are already recorded, allowing loved ones to focus more on their journey through grief than on making decisions. A copy of it is kept at the funeral home, and families receive a copy to bring home.

During a prearrangement conference, Shelly explains each part of the documentation process and will sometimes suggest an authorization for final disposition. This is a legal document in Wisconsin that appoints someone to make funeral and burial decisions on an individual’s behalf. In addition, Helke uses National Guardian Life insurance to keep funeral funds until the time loss. Unlike life insurance, this money is protected from the state and is available immediately when a death occurs. Shelly is a licensed insurance provider and helps facilitate the financial forms related to preplanning. Lastly, she suggests people see an attorney to complete a trust so that family members will avoid probate, which is a judicial process that settles the deceased’s estate if there is no trust in place.

To learn more about the end-of-life documentation Helke Funeral Home and Cremation Services can help you with, set up an appointment with Shelly or attend one of her seminars. You also can check out www.helke.com for more information.

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