We know how complicated and challenging these topics are, and we're glad we're in the company of such thoughtful, practical, and effective sites. Here are some of the sites we think are doing terrific work.
What You Need to Know
Some of these websites are information resources, some have tools that can help you make decisions, and some can help you create legally binding documents. All of these resources offer a great experience, whether you're learning about your options or getting things done.
Everplans helps you create, organize and securely share important legal, financial and health information in one place so that your family and loved ones can access it when it’s needed. The Everplan platform allows users to create and upload documents such as a will, life insurance, health information, online account info, and even personal funeral wishes. All information is encrypted and securely stored in a vault that allows users to control who sees what information and when.
One of the most important elements of end-of-life planning is communication, and The Conversation Project is dedicated to helping people talk about their wishes for end-of-life care. Their downloadable Starter Kit is a tool for beginning to have the conversation, both for people informing others of their own wishes and for people helping someone else get ready to talk. They also have a helpful download called How to Talk to Your Doctor, to help you communicate with your health care team about your end-of-life wishes.
MyDirectives is a free service that lets you create a universal, digital advance directive that works in all states equally, known as your Universal Advance Digital Directive (uADD)™. All the forms you create with MyDirectives are encrypted and securely stored by MyDirectives. Your advance directive is available to you and your medical treatment providers (EMTs, hospital admissions staff, ER nurses, and doctors) anywhere and at any time. They also offer a "My Thoughts" section, which allows you to reflect on and explain your more personal requests your medical care and comfort.
Five Wishes is a tool for creating advance health care directives. Unlike most state advance directive forms, Five Wishes uses plain, easy-to-understand language to help you make important decisions about the medical care you'd like and would not like at the end of your life. By completing Five Wishes you will have a legally binding advance directive, as well as a tool for talking to your family about your decisions. Five Wishes is legal in all states except Alabama, Indiana, Kansas, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, and Utah.
When Chanel Reynolds' husband died tragically and unexpectedly, she was thrown into a logistical nightmare of getting her life back in order. Her husband didn't have a will, hadn't shared his passwords with her, and she couldn't find his life insurance policy. "All of that extra stress and pain could have easily been avoided with a few hours of organization and follow through. I don’t want anyone to suffer the same way," she says. She built the site and the worksheets to help you get started as you get your things together. Her down-to-earth, sympathetic-yet-no-nonsense approach is comforting and inspiring.
PREPARE (Prepare for Your Care) is a website made up of a series of step-by-step questions and videos that address the main topics and questions of end-of-life decision-making, to help you create a personal plan for yourself or someone you care for. The site is thoughtfully developed with an eye toward accessibility: for those with vision impairments, the site can read the content aloud; for those with hearing impairments, the videos are all closed captioned and come with full transcripts; and for people with little experience using computers, the site offers a simple, easy-to-understand tutorial on how to use a computer to complete the PREPARE process. At the end, you receive a printable summary of the decisions you made.
Creating a living will and naming a power of attorney (known collectively as an advance directive) is the cornerstone of end-of-life planning. BestEndings has articles to help you think through the tough personal and medical decisions you have to make in your living will. Most helpful is the My BestEndings Wishes, a 6-question interactive worksheet that creates your personalized living will based on the personal and medical decisions you've made. When you've finished the worksheet, BestEndings will email copies of your living will to you and the person you've named as your health care power of attorney.
After Judy MacDonald Johnston helped two friends have the end-of-life they each wanted, she realized she could offer what she learned to others looking to have a good end-of-life. Good End of Life offers 5 worksheets that can help you create your end-of-life plan and make sure that your plan is followed when the time comes. The worksheets are not a substitute for naming a health care power of attorney, but can serve as informative, important supplemental information for you, your family and caregivers, and your health care power of attorney.
To help you plan for end-of-life or after someone has died, DeathWise has articles to help you make decisions about the range of preparations. From organizing financial records and making healthcare decisions, to planning the funeral or memorial service, their Quick Answer Tool offers the essential information on the most important topics.
Life Matters Media has created a community for people facing the end of life and for those that care for them. Their site features videos and essays that tell users' personal stories, offering an educational, supportive, and deeply human view of what the end of life is really like for a variety of different types of people. In addition, they distill scientific research about end of life into readable, accessible material, and provide advice and opinions from experts in a range of related fields, such as finance, health care, faith, and mortality.