End-of-life planning

Planning for the future is a gift you can offer your family. There are many things to consider as you plan for the end of your life, and the more decisions you can make ahead of time, the easier it is for those who love you.

Watch how one family received a gift of grace from end of life planning.

What should I let my loved ones know?

A good plan removes uncertainty for your family. It will make your wishes known about every aspect of your life. It will include directions for:

  • Medical treatment
  • How you want your assets distributed
  • Who will be your personal decision makers
  • How you want your values, memories and legacy to be remembered

How Everence and others can help

Download our free Personal Financial Affairs Directory as a guide to help you gather all of your information. We also recommend a book, Necessary Conversations, which helps you identify and navigate the important aging conversations to have with your family.

Should I determine my medical treatments and advance directives now?

If an accident or serious illness put you in the hospital and you were unable to make medical decisions for yourself, your immediate family members would need to make make decisions for you. You can make it easier on your family by letting them and your doctors know ahead of time what medical treatments you'd like. Although it may seem strange to think about these things while you're healthy, it is much easier to make the decisions now, before it is too difficult.

Consider three ways to communicate your advance directives:

  • A living will outlines what medical treatments you want (or don't want).
  • Power of attorney for medical decisions lets you designate who is authorized to make decisions for you.
  • A Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment form specifies treatments for end-of-life.

You can visit websites such as Five Wishes, POLST, or Living Will Registry to get help documenting your decisions and making them official.

How Everence can help

Download our Medical treatment: advance directives handout to learn more about living wills, how to designate a power of attorney and POLST forms. It also includes answers to frequently asked questions.

Should I have a will?

If you don't have a will, the state will decide how your estate will be distributed when you die and who will receive what. You should write a will to make sure you get to decide what happens to your estate. If you have minor children or other dependents, your will designates how they will be cared for if you die. You also can decide what happens to property such as cars, personal collections and family heirlooms. Some people include donations to their church or a charity in their wills. We advise that you develop your will with the help of a trusted lawyer licensed in the state where you live.

How Everence can help

Everence can help you set up a trust or charitable gift plan for your assets, serve as a fiduciary executor for your will, offer you life insurance to help you provide for your family when you die or as an important part of your business succession strategy.

Will Preparation Grant: Everence offers its members a grant toward the cost of creating a new will or updating an outdated will. Download the application.

What is a trust and what are they for?

A trust is a document that describes how your property and other assets are managed for the benefit of others. You can establish a trust for many reasons, but mostly it helps protect or preserve your assets for your heirs. A trust can be used to care for dependent loved ones, make gifts to charity and manage estate tax issues.

How Everence can help

Our professionals can help you determine if a trust is right for you, as well as offer assistance in choosing the right kind of trust to fit your needs. We can also serve as a fiduciary of your trust, and/or establish and administer your trust. Download our handout Property and assets, part two: trusts for more details about the common types of trusts and what they are good for.

What does it mean to legally appoint someone to make personal decisions for me?

A power of attorney is the official term for someone legally appointed to make personal decisions on your behalf. You can decide if this person is authorized to make financial, medical or other decisions and how much power he or she has. Other people or institutions who you legally assign to carry out your decisions are the executor of your will, the trustee of any trusts you have set up and a guardian for your children.

Meet with your lawyer to draw up the legal documents to make the power of attorney official. A lawyer will also work with you to develop a will that designates an executor and guardian. The trustee for your trust is assigned in your trust documents.

How Everence can help

You can assign Everence as your fiduciary, which means we would make financial decisions for your trust. As experienced professionals that shares your values, you can trust that Everence would act on your wishes as you lay out in your documentation. You may also download our handout Who will act for you: your personal decision makers, to get more details about what the types and roles of the decision-makers in your life.

How can I make sure that my values, memory and legacy last?

Write down your decisions and communicate them with your family and friends to make sure that your values and legacy last into the future. You could make decisions about:

  • How to handle your remains.
  • What your obituary should say.
  • If you would like gifts toward charity in your memory.
  • If there is anything you want to include in your memorial service.
  • Who to notify on your passing.
  • How your family can find your important documents.

How Everence can help

Download our free Personal Financial Affairs Directory and use it as a guide to write down important information. There is a lot of detailed information, but it serves as a good one-stop resource for your family.

See one family's story about the gift they received


Watch how one family received a gift of grace from end of life planning.

Read more about this family's gift of grace

Ask Everence

Do you have specific question about end-of-life services that Everence offers or need more information? 

Find an Everence financial professional

Or learn more about how a custom financial plan can help you gain confidence and clarity about your finances.

For more information

Call (800) 348-7468 or visit any of our offices to talk to an Everence representative.

Small group resources

Dive in with your small group

Thoughtfully study end-of-life topics with the free Everence End-of-life curriculum. Developed to help you make your final transition in life peaceful and grace-filled for you and your family. The study includes videos and educational materials that you can study by yourself, with your family or with a small group of friends.

See study materials

Related stories

Importance of being prepared
Entire family benefits from end-of-life planning

Difficult (but helpful) discussions
How these parents shared their wishes with their adult children