Planning for: End-of-Life Matters

As you grow older and enter your next phase of life, you are bound to face the inevitable of having to deal with end-of-life matters, whether for yourself or for your loved ones.

As difficult and uncomfortable as it might be to think about or prepare for your death, there are many compelling reasons for you to arrange your final wishes long before you need them.

Unfortunately, many families experience disputes when arranging for a loved one’s funeral, especially when their passing is unexpected. By making your plans now, your loved ones don’t have to guess what you may have wanted; they will know how you want to be remembered, which can also help in their grieving process.

Here are some end-of-life procedures you can plan for in advance:

Although we may live in a culture of silence where talking about death or end-of-life matters can be considered taboo or disrespectful, it is a good starting point to have these conversations with your family or loved ones. Having the conversation today means a much lighter burden to bear in the future when death eventually hits home.

Despite the sensitivity of the topic, there has been an increase in positive attitudes towards such conversations. A study by SMU found that more Singaporeans are more comfortable discussing the issue of death today as compared to five years ago, with those who fall between the ages 41 to 50 being the most informed about end-of-life issues.

Dying to Talk is a campaign that aims to encourage Singaporean families to kickstart conversations about death by empowering them with a simple conversation kit. They also produced a “Death over Dinner” video series featuring four families using the conversation kit, to show how such conversations can happen over everyday, casual settings like family mealtimes.

You can watch the video series and download an online version of their kit on their website.

Pre-planning for your funeral offers great emotional relief and financial security for your loved ones, helping to remove some stress from an already very difficult process. It also allows you to make your own decisions on how you want your funeral to be like. Funeral homes that offer such services include Ang Chin Moh Funeral Directors and Singapore Casket.

It is never too early to make a will; anything can happen to anyone, and at any time. In fact, you should write one while you are still healthy and of sound mind, and not wait until it is too late. As long as you are aged 21 or above, you can write your own will without consulting a lawyer.

OCBC offers a free Online Will Generator service that will only take less than 15 minutes to make. (Note: Your will is only valid once it has been endorsed)

NTUC Income also offers proper will-writing services, starting from $267.50.

If you die without writing a will, your assets will be distributed according to Singapore’s laws of inter-state succession. You can read a summarised version of it here.

For more information about what is included in a will, click here to find out more.

A legal document that allows anyone aged 21 or above to choose a person to make decisions on his behalf in the case of a loss of mental capacity. The application fee has been completely waived until Aug 31, 2020. Visit the Office of Public Guardian for more information.

Advance Care Planning (ACP) is the process of planning for your future medical care with your loved ones and healthcare providers. It starts with having conversations with your loved ones about what kind of care you’d like to receive should you become very ill one day. Click here for more information about ACP.

An Advance Medical Directive (AMD) is a legal document that you sign in advance to inform your doctor that you do not want any life-sustaining treatment in the case of a terminal illness or state of unconsciousness. Click here to find out more about AMD.

HOTA is an opt-out scheme for all Singaporeans aged 21 and above which allows for the transplantation of the kidneys, liver, heart and corneas, in the event of death. Click here for more information about HOTA.

MTERA is an opt-in scheme which allows Singaporeans aged 18 and above to pledge their organs and body parts for purposes of research, education or transplant after death. Click here for more information about MTERA.