End of life planning: important documents

According to the department of health, 82% of Australians consider that talking about their death dying wishes is important, but most of them don’t actually think about their end of life planning. Planning ahead will allow you to protect your family and to prepare for the end of your life. A will is just one of the documents we need to put in place as we age.

We made a list of documents you need to take into consideration, in addition to the will:

#1 The living will

This is not the traditional will that people use to leave their properties and goods to their descendants and friends. A living will is a document that helps people state their wishes for their medical care, just in case they won’t be able to communicate their preferences. Any authority of this document ends when the beneficiary dies. There is an exception: when the person who created the document assigned a healthcare agent to make certain decisions about autopsy or organ donation.

#2 DNR/DNI orders

When thinking of the end of life planning, DNR/DNI orders are also important.
DNR or Do Not Resuscitate is a legal order to withhold cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) in case the beneficiary heart were to stop or they were to stop breathing. DNI or Do Not Incubate informs the medical personnel that the patient doesn't want a breathing tube inserted in case she/he stops breathing on his/her own.

#3 Medical orders for life-sustaining treatment

This is a medical order specifically designed for individuals who have a low life expectancy, because of advanced disease or frailty. It offers specific information about the health status, treatment choices and medical decisions to Ambulance Officers, ER doctors etc. The client fills in this document with their doctor. Once it’s signed, it becomes a doctor standing order.

#4 Diminishing capacity letters

This document is getting more and more popular nowadays because it’s really useful in avoiding fraud. It offers to professionals the permission to call a certain trusted person if they notice a cognitive, mental, or psychological diminishment. The trusted person can be your attorney, a certain friend or a family member.

#5 Organ donor designation

The national register that let you record your decision regarding organ donation after death is the Australian Organ Donor Register. You can easily register and choose the tissue & organs you want to donate.
  • Use your Medicare online account through the myGov website;
  • Use the Express Plus Medicare mobile app;
  • Register through the online form on the DonateLife website;
  • Download a registration form from the Department of Human Services website;
  • Telephone 1800 777 203
  • Visit your local Service Centre, where you can pick up a Donor Register brochure and registration form
  • Request a registration form to be mailed to you by emailing your full name and postal address to aodr@humanservices.gov.au.

#6 Life insurance

Life insurance is the right decision for you if you put a price on the financial safety of the ones you love. Before choosing the company you will collaborate with, research what’s covered, what’s not covered, how much will be paid after the claim or how can you switch to a different policy. After analysing the market, choose the company that better suits your needs.

#7 Digital assets memorandum

At the end of the life planning process, make sure the digital asset problem is covered. A digital asset can be a device, the data stored on a device, online storage accounts, online shopping accounts, social media accounts etc. Prepare a digital memorandum with your will, where you provide clear instructions regarding this matter. The data will be kept confidential in a sealed envelope.

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