DeathWise.org – DIY End of Life Planning

Pat Salber

Posted 5/10/12 on The Doctor Weighs In

For most of us, talking about death doesn’t come easily. Yet, it’s something we all experience — the loss of those we know and love, and ultimately, our own death quote from DeathWise.org

In this wonderful age of digital empowerment, we can now take charge of many things that we used to have to depend on others to do for us.  Examples include booking vacations and managing our investment portfolios. Now, there is a website, DeathWise, that can help you manage your death–well, not exactly your death, rather the planning for your death.  This can mean the difference between an orderly exit or one that leaves your family and friends combing through your papers and guessing your wishes.

In my family, no one ever talked about death, let alone planned for it. One example was the death of my maternal grandmother who, at the age of 78, died in her bed in the apartment she had rented for almost 40 years. Neither her daughters, their spouses, nor the rest of her extended family had any idea about the details of her life despite the fact that we all lived within 30 miles of her house and saw her frequently. We were pretty surprised to find out that all of “her” furniture actually belonged to the landlord.

And, that her frugal habits included saving every rubber band that ever made it into her hands – all rolled up into a gigantic rubber band ball. We didn’t know where her papers were, what type of service she would like or even if she preferred cremation or burial. We muddled through, spending days in her apartment opening cupboards, poking around in drawers, and rifling through papers, bankbooks (remember them?), and check stubs. We hoped we did what she would have wanted, but we weren’t really sure.

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