It can feel kinda strange to prepare for the death of a parent; they’re still physically here with you, so why even think about their passing if you don’t yet have to? Well, our answer to that is simple: Preparation is a practical way to ensure all your t’s are crossed and i’s dotted prior to their death, because when the inevitable occurs, the last thing you’ll want to be doing is rummaging around for answers.
Here are our recommendations for preparing for the death of a parent so you can feel organised and in control, come the day.
1. Emotionally prepare for their death
This is likely something you can tackle when your parent starts to become frail, or if they become unwell and you know their death might be imminent. While we might think our grief will only begin once our parents passes, that’s not always the case, and we can start struggling emotionally before their death. Afterall, the passing of a loved one is always difficult – and if we know it’s coming, we’ll likely find ourselves grieving before they’ve even gone.
If you’re in need of some additional emotional support during this time, we’d recommend reaching out to a counsellor or support network. It can even be helpful to develop relationships with a counsellor or support group well before your parent becomes frail or ill, so you know exactly who to turn to when you need them (and they’ll already know your full history).
2. Encourage your parent to engage in Swedish Death Cleaning
Swedish Death Cleaning refers to the act of decluttering a home before death. If your parent(s) are willing and able to, it might be beneficial for both them and you if they began to declutter their home and organise their possessions so that most of their belongings are taken care of before they die.
This can be a really powerful way for parents and/or grandparents to distribute some of their most prized possessions to loved ones, while also providing them with the benefits of more minimalistic living.
3. Understand their funeral plans
It’s important to chat to your parent(s) and/or understand their funeral plans before they pass. Your parent(s) likely have preferences for where they’d like to be buried, where they’d want their ashes to be scattered, what they’d want their funeral or memorial service to look like, who they’d want their celebrant to be, and even the types of songs played at their memorial or funeral.
In addition to such requests, your parent(s) might have also already paid for their funeral. Prepaid funerals are becoming more and more common, and they’re a great way to reduce the financial burden and decision fatigue that plagues many families after the death of a loved one.
Interested in learning more about Prepaid Funerals, organised by Willed? Click here.
4. Make sure they have a legal Will in place
We all know just how important Wills are. It’s why we exist, afterall (it’s literally in our name), and is likely why you’re reading this guide in the first place. A Will is a legal document that stipulates who will inherit the estate when your parent dies.
Need to write your legal Will or help your parent(s) write theirs? You can start one online today with Willed and complete it in just 15 minutes.
5. Determine who will need to be contacted
It’s important to make a list of all the important people in your parents’ lives so that when the inevitable happens, you won’t forget to call long lost cousin Janet who lives in some exotic country on the other side of the world, or Bob from Sunday night Bridge club. You’d never want anyone to hear of the news days, weeks or months after they’ve passed, and feel forgotten about or saddened that they didn’t know.
6. Work out what their financial plan is
Dealing with loved ones’ finances can be incredibly overwhelming, especially as this is often the first task we need to grapple with when they pass away. We’ve put a few guides together to help you feel a little more in-the-know when it comes to all things finances.
Here they are:
There’s no perfect way to prepare for the death of a parent, although we (obviously) wish there was. Our biggest recommendation of all is to be patient with yourself and with them, while you (and they) gather everything together and make sense of the important things. Patience and preparation are always key.