Estimate Time2 min

End-of-life planning guide: questions to ask

Facing the loss of a loved one is one of the most difficult life events. Understanding your loved one's wishes and the decisions that may need to be made ahead of time can be helpful. Here are some things to consider when discussing end-of-life planning. 

End-of-life wishes

We have preferences about a lot of things in life. In fact, you may find that your loved one has strong preferences about the end of their life. Or you might find that your loved one hasn't given it much thought. As a caregiver, it may fall to you to start that conversation. Use these questions to better understand your loved one's plans and wishes. 
  • Does your loved one want to die at home or would they prefer to be in a health care facility? 
  • How does your loved one feel about life-prolonging treatments? Will there be a point when they want treatments to stop, in favor of improving their level of comfort instead? 
  • How do they feel about life-saving interventions at the end of life? 
  • Does your loved one want to limit visitors in their final days or arrange to say goodbye to certain friends and family members? 
  • What's most important to your loved one as they think about how they want to live at the end of life? 
  • What do they value most? 
  • How would they complete this sentence: "What matters to me at the end of life is________" 
Keep in mind that it's possible to have one answer to these questions when the situation is still in the future, and a different view when the moment has arrived. Honoring your loved one's wishes to the degree possible is just one way of showing your love and respect for them. 

End-of-life ceremonies, celebrations

Spiritual support may be important to your loved one at the end of life, and some people have clear wishes about how they'd like their life celebrated once it's over. 
  • Is there a spiritual advisor your loved one would like to hear from or spend time with? 
  • Does your loved one wish to be buried or cremated? 
  • Depending on where your loved one plans to die, will you need to choose a funeral home? 
  • Where do they want their remains to go? Is there a preferred cemetery or other final resting place? 
  • What preferences do they have for a funeral or memorial service? 

Start a conversation

We'll meet you where you are on your financial journey and help you get to where you want to be.

More to explore

This information is general in nature and provided for educational purposes only.