How to prepare for our final days


Photo by Juha Roisko

Grim as it may sound. Death is part of life, and it might surprise us, especially in times like this. It is why we should prepare. Some of us are alone in Finland, and our relatives are far away, or we might not have anyone to take care of us or fight for us in these uncertain times. 


Some of us might think that we should not think about death at the moment. The thought of it is scary and frightening, but we should prepare because it will help our loved ones to survive and overcome the tragic situation. There are many practical things to consider before and after death. It might be overwhelming, along with grief and sorrow.


Digital Testament


In today's digital world, most of us have various digital and social accounts; some of these accounts might have money such as gaming, bonus, and bank accounts. Some accounts might not have monetary value, and others have sentimental value that contains precious photos, memorable videos, and essential documents.


We also have applications in various technical outlets such as our computers, pads, and phones. We might even have older versions of these appliances but kept them because they are somehow dear to us.


It's essential to take these accounts and appliances in order, updated and organized if you want that the most important documents and memories will be forwarded to the next generation. 


Importantly, we also need to grant access to someone we trust when we are not able to do so. We all know that all of these accounts are secured and stored behind passwords, two-factor authentication, and other security measures provided by the application enterprise. 


Advance Directive- Hoitotahto


The Advance Directive Form from Muistiliitto allows you to express your will regarding your treatment and care, especially in situations where you are unable to make decisions about your care. Your life values and wishes will be respected regarding your end-of-life care or if you have a sickness that will deter your legal incompetence. The form should be kept at home with other essential documents as well as medical records. It is also preferable to take a copy to the person authorized to decide on your behalf when you are not able to do it yourself.


Power of attorney- Edunvalvontavaltuutus


A pre-arranged mandate will help if you are not able to take care of your affairs for months. It might happen due to an accident, mental or memory illness. The mandate can be as effective as you make it. It can specify conditions for self-care as well as who receives information from the authorities about care-related issues. You may also set authorization and requirements of sale of your property or real estate and how its assets are donated forward, also who is entitled to receive information. A deputy trustee must be appointed who is not a member of the family.


Testament


Do you own real estate, stocks, and other capital assets in one or multiple countries? It is vital to have a handwritten and formal will. The longer one lives in Finland, the more difficult it is to get documents from the origin country. It might take years to find the correct authorities, file relevant documents, and traveling from one country to another will also be costly.


If your children have lived in Finland all their lives, they might not know the legal policies from a specific country and how to seek help. Or you might have children who stayed in the origin country; they are also able to inherit in Finland when you die.


In Finland, the primary heirs are the spouse and children after that are parents, then siblings and relatives. If there are no heirs or wills, the property will be inherited by the state. You can also leave your assets to an organization that you support. 


A testament or a written will allows you to determine the portion that goes beyond the legal part of the heirs. A will grants inheritance to your family or children living abroad. They should also be handed a copy of that will.


File important documents


Combine all essential documents to make it easy to navigate. This document should include contracts, financial statements, invoices, testament, medical statements, and other necessary reports, ownerships, and a list of assets and debts—a curriculum or a map to find relevant documents and how to file and access them.


It will help the assigned person who usually does not have any experience to make an estate inventory deed. The estate inventory should be done three months after death. The heirs and testators will sign the estate inventory deed to get the inheritance and pay inheritance taxation. 


The properties and debts leftover from the person who dies is called the estate (kuolinpesä). The shareholders or the receivers of the testament will jointly represent the estate until the division of the estate. 


Sorting and cleaning


You might have accumulated a lot of possessions in your home over the years. If sorting and cleaning your things is overwhelming for you, it will be more overwhelming for the person who is responsible for it when you pass away. It is better to throw your broken things, resell, or recycle the things you do not need. 


Overall, these tasks might be overwhelming, but it is essential to do. 

Written by: Mae Lehto

Photo by: Juha Roisko


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