Advanced Care Planning

A process of reflection and communication to let others know your beliefs, values and wishes for future health and/or personal care preferences. It means having the conversation with family, friends and especially the person(s) who will speak for you. It includes talking with health care providers, financial and legal professionals. It includes writing down your wishes. Advance care planning is not just for the aging or dying, it is for the living. Advanced Care Planning includes the following:

Financial Planning
Death can cause financial tragedies as well as grief. Consistent financial planning and crucial financial preparations while you are living lessens the impact on your loved ones when you die. Difficult as it is, it’s better to deal with it head on than face the consequences of having not considered it. Make a Financial Factsheet, discuss the contents and location with someone you can trust.  Continue to update it and keep the information current. Good financial planning shows how much you care about your loved ones.

Power of Attorney
A power of attorney is used to delegate financial and most legal decisions. A POA  cannot make medical or health care decisions for you, such as consenting to surgery or medical treatments. For these decisions, you need to make what’s called a “representation agreement.”  [click on link to]

Legal Will
Your will is the easiest and most effective way to tell others how you want your property and possessions– called your estate– to be distributed. Even if there is not much money or property, it’s still a good idea to have a will so you can name an executor and make it clear who you want making decisions after you die. A will may:

    • Lessen the involvement of departmental officials in your private affairs.
    • Avoid delays in settling your estate.
    • Make the settlement of your estate a more personal matter.
    • Help to avoid family conflicts by expressing your clear intentions.
    • Protect any customs or traditions that should be passed on to your loved ones.

Wills can be made in the following ways:

    • Lawyer
    • Notary Public
    • Trust company through a financial institution
    • Estate Planner
    • Wills Form purchased in office supply stores
    • Written by the person, dated and witnessed

Ethical Will
An ethical will is a letter or recording created for your descendants or other loved ones. Often shared during life, an ethical will is a “hard copy” document  created intentionally to last beyond your lifetime – for the purpose of communicating feelings, values, wisdom, stories, wishes, advice or important information. An ethical will is not a legal document; it does not distribute your material wealth. It is a heartfelt expression of what truly matters most in your life.

Advanced Care Directive
A legal document with your written instructions for health and personal care that are given to your health care provider, which he/she must follow directly when it speaks to the care you need at the time.

Organ Donation
It is very important to discuss organ donation with your family so that they know your wishes before you die or become incapable of making the decision.  Once someone has filled out the registration form indicating their decision on organ donation, it is mailed back to BC Transplant where it is scanned into a secure computerized database. There are three ways to register for organ donation:

  • Online organ donor registry
  • Registration card available by request or at a variety of locations such as Motor Vehicle Branches, all London Drugs locations and doctors’ offices
  • Download and send in an organ donor registration form 

Funeral and Burial Arrangements
One of the most generous and benevolent tasks you can do for your loved ones is to pre plan your end of life wishes.  When you die, this provides the opportunity to put energy into celebrating your life instead of the challenging responsibility of planning your funeral. If your funeral is not pre planned, verbally or in writing, they are faced with this task during a time of grief and stress. Pre-planning allows you to protect your loved ones, while simultaneously creating an end of life ritual that meets your distinctive needs. 

Green Burial
Green burial is a statement of personal values for those who seek to minimize their impact on the local and global environment. Green burial is the practice where the body is returned to the earth to decompose naturally and over time, becomes part of the eco-system. Once the burial has been completed and the grave allowed to settle, the surface of the site is planted with indigenous flowers and grasses, ferns, small shrubs and trees. When the green burial section is fully utilized, the site becomes a restored forest, merging with the local eco-system.  Royal Oak Burial Park in Victoria, B.C. is certified by the Natural Burial Association of Canada and Green Burial Council of North America. Mountain View Cemetery in Vancouver  is a hybrid green cemetery through the Green Burial Council. Burials do not require the use of embalming, or vaults and liners. Biodegradable urns and caskets are accepted.

Monuments are objects that have been created to honor a dead person.

Representation Agreement
A Representation Agreement is a legal document available to adults in British Columbia for personal planning. It allows you to authorize one or more people to be your representative to help you manage your affairs and, if necessary, to make decisions on your behalf in case of illness, injury, or disability. A Representation Agreement is the only way you can appoint someone to assist you or to act on your behalf for health care and personal care matters. It can also cover routine financial affairs.

“To begin depriving death of its greatest advantage over us, let us adopt a way clean contrary to that common one; let us deprive death of its strangeness, let us frequent it, let us get used to it; let us have nothing more often in mind than death….”