Financial Literacy for Everyone
Follow Us
free materials

Follow Us On Twitter
Looking for financial tips and news from Practical Money Skills Canada?
Follow Us Now

free materials

Free Lesson Plans
Give your students a deeper understanding of money management with curriculum offered by Choices & Decisions: Taking charge of your financial life™.
Learn More

End of Life Concerns

Planning for death makes us confront our fears of losing loved ones and also our fears concerning our own death.

Make Things Easier For Your Family

Thinking about our own deaths or a loved one’s passing is not an enjoyable experience. But it is important to let your end of life wishes to be known before you pass away. Dealing with financial and medical decisions will be stressful for your loved ones, so make it easier by doing some advance planning. Important things to take care of prior to the end of life include:

  • Advance Directives You can make it known that you want all medical measures to be taken to save your life, or you can designate a specific person to be your Power of Attorney for Personal Care. That gives them authority to make any personal-care decisions for you that you are mentally incapable of making for yourself.

  • Organ Donation Do you want your viable organs to be donated? If you are undecided, visit The Organ & Transplant Association of Canada for more information. Donor registry rules are different depending on what province you live in, so check to see what is the law in your area. It can be as simple as signing the back of your drivers license or Health Care Card. Keep your donor card with your identification and notify family of your wishes.

  • Wills Having your will in place prior to incapacity occurring will ensure a smoother transition for your surviving family and friends. Make sure the location of your most recent will is known to your Estate Trustee.

  • Quality End-Of-Life Care Letting your loved ones know in advance where you want to be when you die is important. If you want to be at home, in the hospital, or professional care facility, you need to let those important loved ones know in advance.


The purpose of hospice is to bring the highest quality of life to someone's last days. This environment invites those people with terminal illnesses to live comfortably, instead of living out their last days in a hospital and undergoing constant procedures and tests. Hospice workers have a different approach to medical care. They focus more on pain management and the spiritual and emotional aspects of dying -- not only for the patient, but for the family as well. For more information, visit The Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association, the national voice for hospice palliative care in Canada.

Burial Decisions

Advance planning is becoming more and more popular as people realize how comforting it can be to have tough decisions already made — before they have to be. The death of a loved one is never easy. But trying to make decisions during such an emotionally challenging time can be extremely difficult.

You can contact different funeral homes in advance, and inquire about services and prices. Writing specific burial instructions into a will ensures that no one has to guess what the deceased would have wanted. Basic issues such as whether you want to be cremated or buried can cause undue stress on your surviving family.

If you are faced with making decisions immediately after a loved one's death, there are steps you can take to reduce some of the stress. First, if decisions don't need to be made right away, don't make them. Wait until you've had some time to grieve. If decisions do need to be made immediately, ask trusted friends to help. They may not be as emotionally distracted as you are, and they will be able to play a role in guiding you to objective decisions.