Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Fulfilled Consulting LLC?
Our mission is to relieve the burden created without proper end of life support. Fulfilled exists to support people as they answer the question “What must I do to be at peace with myself so that I may die gracefully?” and to support family members in completing the affairs of their loved one’s life after a death.
How can Fulfilled help you and your loved ones?
We create comprehensive end of life plans that are suited to an individual’s unique humanhood; a true expression of their life and the experiences they cherish. We also create peace of mind while supporting families as they walk a loved one through the end of life as well as bridge the gap in end of life support.
What is End of Life Planning?
End of life planning is the part of your Estate Plan that formalizes and makes known your wishes about what you want to have happen when you’re reaching the last phase of your life. So often, we’re unable to adequately express what we want when we reach this point. Thus, we place an unintentional but incredible burden on our loved ones as they become faced with making tough decisions and choices that nobody wants to for those they love.
Why is End of Life Planning Important?
End of life planning is important so that your wishes can be made official. But there’s a bigger piece here that we don’t often talk about. Really, this part of your Estate Plan has a lot more to do with others in your life than it does with you. The end stages of life leave those closest to you fraught with many difficult-to-navigate emotions. They’ll of course be sad, perhaps confused, often angry, and it’s not uncommon for different family members to have widely differing beliefs about what would be best, both at the end, and even after, you pass.
How to Improve the End of Life Planning Conversation?
Having a conversation about your end of life plan with your friends and loved ones will probably be hard, but it’s an important part of the process. It becomes even more essential (and perhaps pressing) if you’re facing a recent diagnosis.
Planning what you’ll say and having a clear idea of how you’ll conduct the discussion can be beneficial and help you get through it. There are several steps you can take to make it easier to broach the subject of your end of life wishes with those around you.
- Engage completely: Make direct eye contact, remain compassionate but firm.
- Remain matter-of-fact: Keep the conversation high level and very fact-based. Think of it as if you’re talking about allergies or another common ailment.
- Encourage respect: Let family and friends know you’re expecting a lot from them – so that they respect your wishes.
- Ensure your own understanding: Often, families will need assurance that you fully understand what you’re asking. Be patient and reassure them that you’re of sound mind and have put thought into your decisions.
- Give them time: Keep in mind that even if you’ve come to terms with the future, your loved ones may need some time.
- Engage completely: Make direct eye contact, remain compassionate but firm.
It’s not uncommon for families or your loved ones to have a difficult time accepting the information you’re offering them. If you’re finding this true, there are a few things you can do to help.
- Bring them to your next doctor appointment. Your doctor can help you set expectations for what your future may look like, and this may be a key factor in the ability to accept your decisions.
- Put your plan in writing. But don’t stop there – talk, a lot, to your loved ones. While it may seem and feel fiercely otherwise, remember (and remind them) that death is actually one of the most normal parts of life.
- The more you try to normalize death, the better the chance your loved ones will be able to come to terms with what you’re facing.
- Keep in mind, this does not always mean it will be easy, but it can help as they move through the grief process in their own way.
- Check in often. Expressing your end of life plan typically isn’t a one-time thing.
- Check in along the way. Let your loved ones know you understand how difficult this must be for them.
- Remember that things change, and that’s OK.
- Even the best plans can be subject to changes beyond our control.
- Let your family know that even if things don’t go exactly as you plan, you’re trying to trust the process.
Ultimate End of Life Planning Checklist:
Once you understand why end of life planning and care is so important; you have a plan in place to communicate with your loved ones, you can take comfort in the fact that you know you’ve done everything you can on your end.
Use the following checklist to ensure you have a plan that’s on point and complete.
- Prepare your end of life planning documents
- Decide between a Will or Trust
- Make a list of your assets
- Determine end of life housing plans
- Write down your final wishes including funeral plans and burial arrangements
- Create an obituary and/or death notice
Prepare Your End of Life Planning Documents
It’s not uncommon to feel a bit overwhelmed as you begin this aspect of your Estate Plan. But once you start the process, you’ll see it’s not all that complicated. Knowing what you need ahead of time can help, as you’ll feel confident when you have a course of action to follow. You may need some of the following documents:
- Living Trust: Lets you manage your estate and assets while you’re living and after you pass away.
- Living Will: Ensures your wishes about medical decisions will be followed in the event you become incapacitated and are unable to express them on your own.
- Last Will and Testament: Written legal document that details how your assets should be handled and what happens to any dependents after you pass.
- Health care POA
- Durable Medical POA
- Health care Proxy
- Durable POA for Finances: Power of Attorney documents can vary in scope and authority but will appoint or designate someone to make legal, financial, medical or business decisions on your behalf in the event you can no longer do so on your own.
- Organ/Tissue Donor Designation: Documents any donations of tissue or organs you would like to allow upon your death.
Domestic Partnership Agreement (if applicable): Used to declare legal rights and responsibilities for long-term partnerships
Create Obituary and Death Notice
Many times, an obituary is written after a death, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be left until then. Some people opt to write their obituary and death notice on their own, and others choose to simply have a conversation with a trusted friend or family member, letting them know what they would like included when the time comes.
Facing mortality is difficult for a lot of us, but thinking practically about it, with a clear mind and a list of helpful information to guide you, can ease the discomfort and help you navigate the process.
While death is often a sad, uncomfortable time, those left grieving can be comforted with the knowledge that you prepared in your own way, making your wishes known and planning as much as you could to help them through their loss.
Equipping yourself with proper end of life planning tools will make preparing for that inevitable part of life just a little bit easier. Don’t put off your end of life planning another day. Contact Fulfilled to help you with your end of life planning.
Decide on Funeral and Burial Arrangements
Though it can seem morbid, making plans for your funeral and burial arrangements ahead of time is one of the kindest things you can do for your loved ones. Grief can grip us in many ways, and sometimes it takes all we have to just get through the day after we lose someone we love. Being forced to make decisions about how to say goodbye and all that goes into planning a funeral and burial can just be too much.
You can ease that burden, even if it’s just by a little bit, when you make some of the plans ahead of time. Think about your religious beliefs and your final wishes, and then plan for how you want your loved ones to say goodbye to you.
- Traditional Service: Also known as a full funeral service, traditional services usually take place in a church or funeral home.
- Viewing and Visitation: Typically involves an open casket during a set time period for visitation.
- Wake: Often a gathering at a home, usually before a more formal service.
- Memorial Service: Generally a service that happens after a burial or cremation.
- Celebration of Life: A service that allows for loved ones to pay tribute to the deceased in a personal way.
- Committal or Graveside Service: Usually brief, a committal or graveside service may occur after a funeral and will oftentimes include prayers and flowers.
- Scattering of Ashes Ceremony: Common after cremation, the scattering of ashes can occur at a place or places special to the deceased.
In addition to funerals, there are also several options for types of burials:
- In-Ground: In a cemetery, one of the traditional choices for laying a loved one to rest.
- Above Ground (Public or Private Mausoleum): Another option for final resting is placing the body or ashes in a mausoleum, a structure used for entombment.
- Above Ground (Lawn Crypt): Like a mausoleum, lawn crypts are an above-ground space that’s enclosed and can be for one or two people.
- Cremation: The process of disposing a body by reducing it to chemical components through combustion (burning).
- Natural Burial: Becoming increasingly popular in recent years, natural burials allow the body to decompose and naturally recycle into the earth.
- Burial at Sea: Disposing of a body or ashes from a boat, burials at sea are common for the Navy and veterans as well as private citizens.
Determine End of Life Housing
If you’re at the point where you need to start thinking about end of life housing, a few tips can help you move through the process. The first thing to determine is what type of housing you anticipate needing. This will be key in deciding on what questions to ask and what you’ll want to be thinking about. You may need an assisted living facility, a nursing home or in-home care.
List Your Assets
Assets are what you own and will pass down to your heirs. A list of assets can widely vary depending on what you’ve accumulated throughout your life. The following list is an example of the types of assets you might include in your Estate Plan.
- Savings/Checking Accounts
- Cash/CDs/Treasury Bills
- Real Estate/Land
- Pensions/Retirement Plans
- Life Insurance Policies
- Corporate Assets
Decide between a Will or Trust
There is a common misconception that Trusts are only for the very wealthy, but the reality is, anyone who owns property or assets worth $150k or above should consider a Trust. Not only do Trusts protect you, your loved ones and your legacy once you’re gone, they also offer privacy. When your estate is held in a Trust, your loved ones will avoid the costly, often painful and messy public process of probate.
Keep in mind, even if you’re not quite ready to create your Trust right now, a Will can be a good start, you can always easily upgrade to a Trust at any time. Not sure which path is the best one to take?
The easiest way to think about a Will vs Trust is that Wills tend to be the simpler route, whereas Trusts can be a bit more complex. A key difference between the two is a Will isn’t effective until after you pass away, and a Trust goes into effect as soon as you create and fund it.
Use a Will to:
- Name guardians
- Plan for your final arrangements
- State how you want your assets passed down
Your Trust is a living document that essentially owns and holds your assets.
Trusts are good for:
- Stronger control over asset distribution
- Privacy (Wills go through probate, the process by which the court distributes your estate per your instructions; they are public information, whereas a Trust is private)
- Protection (since your Trust technically owns your assets, your estate will
- Protection (Estate will be protected from litigation)
Why is it called Fulfilled?
“Fulfilled” may not be the first word that comes to mind when you think of end-of-life planning, but we chose it because we want you to live more purposefully and meaningfully in the present while impacting your world for good.
Proactive planning is a considerate and generous act that honors our lives, the lives of those we love, and also encourages us to reflect on our final wishes.
When we think deeply about what’s most important at the end of life, we understand what’s most important now, and can better appreciate all relationships, celebrate our accomplishments, realize our vision and goals in the precious time we are given.
Who should use Fulfilled?
Each and every one of us should have a say in how we live our lives, from beginning to end. Gift your loved ones with the information they will need someday to make it easier on them.
Fulfilled can be used by adults of all ages. It is a dynamic planning experience that adapts to your life situation. Everyone will die someday, so we should all give a bit of thought to our preferences. Fulfilled is particularly helpful for anyone who wants to:
– Make sure their wishes are known and followed
– Get guidance on what planning they should do
– Know if the planning they have already done is sufficient
– Unburden their loved ones from having to make end of life decisions for them someday
– Help their aging parents plan
– Protect their children or spouse should anything happen to them
– Protect their adult dependents should anything happen to them
– Have more peace of mind and perspective
Is a Fulfilled end-of-life plan legally binding?
Where applicable, Fulfilled guides you to create important legal documents to protect your end-of-life wishes.
Legal healthcare documents: We help you understand which healthcare documents you need to create, and how to complete them:
– Health care proxy
– Living Will (some states combine the two under one document)
Once your document is legal by your state’s standards, upload it to your hard drive and print a hard copy for safekeeping and sharing.
Legal Wills: We help you prepare to create a Will by asking the important questions to get you thinking about the dependents and all of the assets you would need to protect. You can use your answers to have a more productive, informed Will writing session with a lawyer or estate attorney. Once your Will is complete, print it out for safekeeping and sharing.
Decisions that don’t need to be “legally binding”
Not all end-of-life decisions need to be in legal documents to come true. For example, if you want to choose a song that reflects the person you’re honoring, a farewelling playlist would be appropriate. Fulfilled thinks the music you choose to play like Eric Clapton, Sarah McLachlan, Fred Hammond, or Beyoncé at your funeral will help set the mood you’re hoping for after you have transitioned.
The most important thing for these types of decisions is to make sure they are known so that they can be honored. As you answer questions, we generate documents that record your wishes for things like funeral, memorial, and legacy decisions. While these planning documents don’t need to be legally binding, they provide invaluable guidance to your loved ones to carry out your wishes and honor your life in the way that is most true to who you are with substance and style.
I've already done some planning with another resource already. Should I schedule a consultation with Fulfilled?
No matter what planning you’ve already done, you’ll find value in working with Fulfilled’s compassionate experts to explore a number of ideas and options other resources may not have presented to you. Our checklist will also help you audit the planning you’ve done so far. Any planning you’ve done can be updated for safekeeping and sharing.
I don’t want to think about death. Should I schedule a consultation with Fulfilled?
We completely understand that thinking about death can be challenging. Fulfilled will guide you on how to get started and enable you to go at your own pace and plan as much as feels right to you.
For many of our clients, thinking about the end of life can be a motivating factor to live life to the fullest. It can put things in perspective and give you and your loved ones more peace of mind. Take a few minutes to complete the Fulfilled intake and reflect as well as talk to the people who matter to you; planning is a very considerate act that comes from love and a desire to honor life.
I don’t care what happens after I die. I’ll be dead. Should I schedule a consultation with Fulfilled?
Not caring what happens after you die is a totally valid preference, however; you can reach out to our compassionate experts to make sure your loved ones know that you don’t care so they are free to make their own decisions. You can also choose to meet with us to explore other aspects of end of life that you might not have been aware of and may have an opinion about.
I want my loved one to do some planning with Fulfilled, but they are resistant. How can I encourage them to do this?
One of the most effective ways to encourage someone to plan is to plan for yourself first! This helps them better understand that every responsible adult should do some planning, and makes it a lot easier for you to say, “We’ve talked about my wishes, but now I really want to know what matters to you most. I worry about having to make these decisions for you someday. Fulfilled made it easier for me to plan. Would you like to give it a try?”
Will you add more content to Fulfilled’s platform?
Yes! If you have suggestions, we want to hear from you. Send your thoughts to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We greatly value the trust our clients place in us; we are committed to protecting the information in your profile, no matter what the future holds. You own all of the personal information in your Fulfilled profile. In the event Fulfilled would need to cease operations, we would ensure our clients receive access to a copy of their plan for printing or safekeeping elsewhere.
Don’t see your question here? Contact us!
Why is the logo a hummingbird?
Hummingbirds are some of the most incredible creatures on Earth. We chose it because the unique characteristics of these birds made them an important spiritual symbol; it’s a warm, inviting symbol, celebrating, honoring life and death. Birds represent the Air element that is associated with wisdom and deep thinking. Their seemingly happy and carefree flight has something magic.
The birds’ symbolism in Africa is related to fertility and fattening. The great birds’ migrations are arriving during the rainy seasons and bring fertility to the land. Another common belief among African cultures is that birds represent the highest state of perfection. The human soul, when it reaches the highest form, becomes a bird.
The biblical meaning of hummingbird relates to the bird’s ability to spread joy and playfulness. The hummingbird symbolism in the bible is connected to death, but not in a negative way. The tiny bird is seen as a messenger from the other side, bringing good news from the loved ones who passed. The hummingbird sign from heaven comes to you when you mourn and feel lost. Hummingbird symbolism death means that the one who departed is happy now, and you should be too.
What if I change my end-of-life preferences in the future?
We fully expect your wishes to evolve as you live your life! The beauty of partnering with Fulfilled is that you can update it anytime. Likewise, if you create new legal documents on paper, it’s a snap to edit the latest version to your profile which is designed to be a single source of truth for your most current end-of-life plans.
I've already done my planning. Should I schedule a consultation with Fulfilled?
It’s great if you have already written down your end-of-life wishes, however; it’s very important that your loved ones know where this information is located when needed. For example, will your family remember that you have a binder or packet of documents in the safe or safe deposit box?
We’ll also help you explore other preferences that most traditional planning tools do not cover. If you update your plan with Fulfilled, the people you choose to share you information with will always have the most up-to-date version of your plan. If you prefer, you can also download or print hard copies of any planning you do.
I already have a Will. What does Fulfilled offer that a Will does not?
A Will is a great start! However, there are many end-of-life preferences that a standard Will does not always address. Many of our clients already have a Will, but still find enormous value from Fulfilled.
We help you think through the personal, human preferences that a Will may overlook such as the following:
- Detailed wishes for end-of-life medical care
- Ideas for a more personalized and comforting funeral
- Ideas for unique ways to memorialize someone
- A digital asset plan (e.g., social media, online accounts, etc.)
- Continued care plan for pet(s)
Those are just a few examples which helps uncover your values across all areas of life so you can be clearer on your preferences, and so your loved ones can be clear on them, too.
I find death unpleasant to discuss. Should I schedule a consultation with a Fulfilled compassionate expert?
Yes, let’s talk about what matters today! Fulfilled realizes, one way to cope with negative feelings around death is to prepare. We cannot control the circumstances, but we can control how we live, and how we plan. We can prevent our loved ones from having to make difficult decisions without guidance from us. Our goal is to empower our potential clients start the conversation about how we care for one another, shape lasting legacies, and share end-of-life decisions with the key people in their lives based on your values, goals, and preferences if you were to become seriously ill or in an accident.
I want to help a non-tech savvy person in my life get their affairs in order. How can a compassionate expert assist with that?
We think the best way to do this is to first reach out to our compassionate experts, they will help walk you through and familiarize yourself with the planning process. Next, we will be happy to assist you with setting aside some time to sit down with your loved one and walk them through the process in person.
How did you come up with the content and questions presented in the Fulfilled platform?
Our compassionate team has spent hours consulting with experts to develop our content and decision making tools. We’ve worked closely with palliative care physicians, social workers, wealth managers, estate attorneys, and funeral planners. We aim to break these tough topics down into simple, bite-size decisions to make planning easier on you.