Our Journal

My end-of-life wishes: end of life plan

Written by Melbourne funeral celebrants, Kate Morgan and Zena Lythgo

The concept of ‘getting your affairs in order’ before the end of your life is often limited to your will and other financial decisions. However, making choices around a broad range of ‘end of life matters’ may be important to you, and you can do so with an ‘end of life plan’.

We have written a detailed ‘end of life plan‘ (below.) Or you can download and print it out if you prefer to do this with pen and paper.

Taking time to think carefully about your ‘end-of-life’ wishes (or a living will) is an empowering activity and will give your loved ones some much needed guidance when you are unwell or after you die. As one wise person once said, ‘none of us are getting out of here alive.’

Consider questions like: Who will make important decisions on your behalf if you are no longer able to do so? Where would you prefer to die? Would you like music to be playing when you do so? Who will take care of your pets when you’re gone?

These days, new parents make detailed ‘birth plans.’ At Tomorrow, we know that some people like to be prepared, so have created this comprehensive ‘end of life plan’.

This end of life plan covers:

  • End of life wishes – having a good death!
  • Celebrating your life

Other things you might need to consider include:

To make it easier to construct your end of life plan, we’ve created this downloadable sheet that you can print out and fill in. You may wish to talk this through with family and friends. Once complete, give it to them or leave it with your other important documents, like your will.

. . .

My end of life & after death, wishes:

The following are my: (NAME) end of life wishes.

I wanted to note down my end of life wishes because (short message):

Date: Signed:

Advanced care plan (also known as a living will)

This is the process of planning for your current and future health care. It involves talking about your values, beliefs and preferences with your loved ones and doctors. It can be formalised into an ‘advance care directive’, which is sometimes called a living will.

  • I have discussed an advanced health plan with family, friends & my medical practitioners. YES / NO
  • I have formalised this and have created an advanced care directive (or living will) YES / NO (location of document)
  • If I am no longer able to communicate or make sound decisions, I would like the following people / person to make decisions on my behalf:
  • Once I am dying, I would you like to be kept informed about all medical matters relating to my death: YEES / NO
  • For example, if my doctors estimate how long I am likely to live, I would like to be informed: YES / NO
  • Additional comments:

Resuscitation & DNR orders

A DNR order is a medical order to withhold cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) techniques.

It is a legally binding document that must be arranged with a doctor. In thinking about a DNR, you will need to consider whether you are open to resuscitation in all circumstances. OR, if there are some he circumstances under which you would not wish to be resuscitated.

  • I have completed a legally binding DNR order. YES / NO
  • I am open to resuscitation in all circumstances. YES / NO
  • The circumstances under which I  would not wish to be resuscitated are as follows:

My will

A will is a legal document that outlines your wishes regarding distribution of your property and the care of any minor children.

  • I have prepared my will and it can be located here:
  • Whilst I’m unwell and after I dieI ‘d like my pets to be cared for by:

Dying at home or hospital

Many people like the idea of dying at home. However, like birth, it is often easier to die in a hospital or hospice. Getting appropriate nursing care, medication and general facilities is easier.

However, we are strong believers in putting your wishes and your rights first. If you do have a strong wish to die at home, you will need to plan it, and can do so in your end of life plan. Your family or friends may need support and guidance around what to expect.

  • If possible, I would like to die at home: YES / NO
  • If possible, I’d  prefer to die in hospital: YES / NO

Death Doulas

Just like a midwife or birth doula, a death doula is trained in all matters concerning end of life. Especially if you want to die at home, a doula can help with practical things like caring for you physically, giving your family space to spend time with you. A doula will know your rights, give you options and advocate on your behalf. Find someone you can connect and speak openly with.

  • I’m interested in employing a death doula: YES / NO
  • Additional comments:
  • Whilst dying, I believe I would prefer music playing. YES / NO – further info:
  • The type of music I would prefer to have playing would be:
  • OR whilst dying I believe I would prefer silence? YES / NO
  • Whilst dying, I would like the following atmosphere created whilst I am dying (candles, flowers, massage, visitors):

Organ and Body Donation

  • In most cases both organ and body donation must be pre-arranged whilst still alive.
  • I have arranged to donate my organs if this is possible, after my death: YES / NO – further info:
  • I have arranged to donate my body to science if this is possible, after my death: YES / NO – further info:

Cremation or burial

  • I wish to be cremated. YES / NO
  • I wish to be buried. YES / NO
  • If possible, I would like to be buried or cremated wearing these clothes: YES / NO – further info:
  • If possible, I would like to be buried or cremated in a shroud (fabric cloth.) YES / NO – further info:
  • I ‘d prefer the following kind of coffin: (cardboard / basic pine or a more elaborate coffin / detail)
  • I’d like family and friends to write messages on & decorate a cardboard coffin: YES / NO
  • If possible, I’d like my body to remain at home for a few hours (or days) so loved ones can say goodbye & spend some time with my body. YES / NO – further info:
  • I would like to be buried or cremated with the following items of jewellery (eg. wedding band or other possessions):
  • If possible, I would like my loved ones to wash my body after my death, in preparation for cremation or burial. YES / NO – further info:
  • After cremation, I’d like my ashes to be scattered at: (location)
  • I would like to be buried at:

Celebrating your life – your way (Type of funeral)

When it comes to funerals, there are different options and ways to celebrate your life.

A traditional funeral would mean your body and coffin would be present at the service. The most common location for the ceremony would be a funeral parlour or religious institution.

The ceremony would likely be conducted by a religious leader or celebrant. If your body is going to be prepared for a viewing, mortuary care will be necessary to ensure your body looks presentable.

Alternatively, a modern celebration of life could take place after cremation or burial. The memorial could take place straight away. Or, family and friends could take a little more time to prepare, process and grieve. Instead of a funeral parlour, the life celebration could happen anywhere – at home, in a garden, a pub or other kind of event space. The memorial event could be led by a celebrant.

  • I would like my family or friends to plan a traditional funeral. YES / NO
  • I would like my family or friends to plan a memorial style funeral. YES / NO
  • Some people prefer to pre-pay for their funeral, ensuring the cost is set at today’s prices.
  • I have pre-paid for my funeral with:
  • If possible, I would like the following funeral home, business to arrange my funeral or life celebration:
  • If possible, I would like the following celebrant or religious leader to lead my funeral:
  • I would like my life celebration to take place at:
  • Preferred style style of funeral: low key / little fuss /celebration of life / party /traditional / religious /spiritual service: (more detail)
  • I would like a wake (gathering after a funeral) to include the following:
  • I would like to offset my funeral to ensure it is sustainable. YES / NO
  • I would like the following people to speak on the day:
  • I have left a video message or a letter to be read on my behalf? YES / NO – further info:
  • I have left a private video message or a letter to begiven to the following individuals? YES / NO – further info:
  • This music resonates with me and I would like it shared at my funeral is:
  • These poems, readings, quotes, prayers, resonate with me & I’d like them shared at my funeral:
  • I ‘d like guests to dress: (formal /in black / a colour or theme / a theme eg. Hawaiian shirts or sequins)
  • I would like live music or other art shared my funeral: YES / NO – further info:
  • I would like flowers at my funeral: YES / NO – further info:
  • I would like donations made to the following organisation in my honour:
  • I’d like a wake (gathering after a funeral) to include the following things: (foods, drinks, songs, guests etc.)
  • These items from my personal collection could be given to guests: (eg. flowers from my garden / photographs / small personal items)
  • I would like a photographer to capture my life celebration: YES / NO

Life story 

Often a life story (or eulogy) is prepared by a family member and read at a funeral. We have an excellent template for sharing your own life story on the ‘Journal page’ at www.tomorrowfunerals.com.au

  • I have prepared my life story. YES / NO – further info:
  • If possible I would like the following person to deliver my life story / eulogy:
  • The following are some life lessons or reflections I would like to share with my family and friends:
  • The following are some defining moments in my life that I would like to share:
  • The following music, art, hobbies, sport, ideas are important to me:
  • The following are my religious, political, philosophical, or spiritual beliefs on life:

Other things I’d like to share

Things I love:

  • (books, sports, hobbies, art, films, places, nature, science, politics, animals & pets.)
  • These things are meaningful to me because…
  • What really annoys me…
  • These people are special because…
  • My greatest lesson has been…

Good luck & have fun with it!

We’re always here to help

Call us 24-hours / 7 days on 1800 574 824
Our Journal contains our entire list of resources for creating personal memorials.
Or visit our funerals page, for more information on our unique memorial style funeral package.