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death planning

Thinking about our death and writing down what we want, what matters to us, is a direct gift to those we care about. And planning also serves as a contemplation and gift to ourselves. It let’s us meditate on our mortality and cook with what arises, with what is there. Making the time for that invariably brings to bubble varieties of genuine insight and clarity. 

There are multiple online resource tools for advance planning, as well as knowledge-filled folks throughout the country that offer direct advance planning help and counsel. 

Begin the process by thinking about things that matter:

  • Do I want people around me when I die? Who? Are there people I do NOT want to have near?

  • Do I feel comfortable with being touched (our skin can be extra sensitive in the dying process)?
    What kind of touch is ok? What kind is not?

  • Do I want music or other sounds around me? Are there sounds I do not want present? Certain smells I like?

  • Have I imparted practical details to loved ones: important documents, bank account numbers, passwords?

  • Do I have a file available that contains this information for my next of kin? Have I communicated where this is?

  • Do I want a home funeral or to use the help of a funeral director?
    For information on home funerals visit: National Home Funeral Alliance or in Maine: Last Things

  • Are there religious practices and beliefs I want honored?

  • Are there prayers or practices I want said or done at bedside?

  • Do I want to be buried or cremated? Where? 

  • Is being environmentally conscious in my disposition choices important to me?

  • What are my beliefs about what happens after death?

some of our favorite online resources:

Advance planning advice, forms and booklets you can order and/or download:

Good To Go is a VERY comprehensive and beautiful planning document.

The Conversation Project is a creative toolbox to ease into death conversation and planning.

Threshold Care Circle offers a fill-in-the blank booklet for all aspects of death planning.

Compassion and Choices offers several different forms one might want and need in the planning process.

Five Wishes is a very standard and easy to use advance directive document (also included in Good to Go package).

Going With Grace offers their “Guide to Completion,” an e-book written by Alua Arthur, a Lawyer and Death Doula. Alua gently takes you step by step through all of the practical details of death planning. 

Memorial, ceremony and obituary writing resources:

Life Posts provides easy-to-use storytelling tools that enable you to create beautiful online memorials and obituaries.

The Inspired Funeral has a variety of templates and ideas for different kinds of end-of-life ceremonies.


From our founder, Angela Lutzenberger…

“As a hospice chaplain I have worked with all kinds of individuals and families on a vast spectrum of preparedness. Some people wait to the very last minute to state their wishes, some never do and leave their families guessing and sometimes fighting. And some plan well and well in advance. I have known folks who set their intentions decades before they die. And I have spoken with countless adult children, next of kin, friends of the deceased, who express such relief and gratitude in knowing exactly what their loved one did and did not want when they die and after death. Determining what we want and laying that ground, allows people the space to be more fully within the depth and breadth of what death imparts. ”