To make end of life decisions, you need to be aware of your condition and the options available to you for treatment. You should also be aware of the financial costs when making end of life decisions. Talking to your family and others who are close to you about your finances and options is essential to making the best decisions about the end of your life. Some people may also wish to speak with a religious adviser. If you are unsure about anything, ask your doctor or other caregiver for an explanation.
Getting your finances in order is a key part of making end of life decisions. Consult with your attorney to update your will if necessary. You may want to grant a family member or friend financial power of attorney so that he or she can make monetary decisions for you should you become incapacitated.
Ask the person you wish to grant power of attorney before choosing him or her. It is a big responsibility, and he or she may not feel up to the task. Give your power of attorney a copy of all the documents related to your finances, such as your insurance paperwork and instructions for your burial or cremation.
Educate yourself as much as possible about your illness and the options available to you and ask your doctor for your prognosis. To make the most relevant end of life decisions, you should have a general idea of how much time you have left. Also ask about the different care options and how the different treatments available will affect you.
Although illness and death are a part of their jobs, some doctors do not like to discuss them. If you feel that your doctor isn't answering your questions satisfactorily or that he or she won't follow your wishes, you may want to find a new doctor. Your doctor can give advice about treatments, but in the end the decision is up to you.
Talking to your family and friends about end of life decisions can help you decide what to do as well. Be realistic with your family and don't hold any information back. The conversation will most likely be very difficult and emotions may be high, but you need to open with your friends and family to make the decisions that will most benefit you and those you love.
If you need spiritual advice, ask your pastor, rabbi, or other adviser for assistance in making decisions. Some religions and spiritual beliefs have specific requirements for the end of life. You may also want to speak with this person about after-death concerns.