Dealing with the death of a loved one is hard and in the midst of the emotional loss the family will need to make some decisions. Who needs to know the loved one passed? What do you do when they are in Hospice and pass at home? Do you call the doctor? Do you call the nurse? Do you call a funeral home? Does your loved one want to be buried? Cremated? Is there a will? What happens to the children who are minors? Where exactly does one even begin!!!!
We have all heard stories of how assets were divided “unfairly” or how a relative from nowhere came in and took this or that or in some cases how the cherished pet was left with a vast fortune! This is a very emotional and trying time for the family and sometimes can tear siblings/relatives apart. Wanda didn’t want this to happen to her family. Years ago, after her sister Katie’s death, Wanda developed a Family Record Guide book, called a family meeting and handed us all a booklet to have and to fill out! (How many of you have filled yours out??) Wanda had taken a proactive approach to planning for certain details and this was another item she wanted to share – BE PREPARED!
Please take the time to discuss and share with your family your final wishes and what will happen to your stuff when you are gone. Plan for your future let them know your wishes while you are alive and well, so there is no He Said/She Said! Wanda and her kids had the opportunity for family meetings to go through the checklist below. She also had filled out her Family Record Guide book – so we knew she loved yellow roses, cally lilles, what music she wanted and who she’d like to sing at her funeral
The list provided below is intended as a starting point and to get you and your loved ones something to think about. Search the internet for more information and details. Office supply stores have the basic documents to get you started as well. Check the laws in your state with an Estate Attorney or your Family Attorney to make sure everything is legally documented. My mom, brother, sister and I will be going over this information while I’m home! Get the binder ready … and the let the organization begin!
CHECKLIST – I recommend cutting and pasting the following questions into your own document and start answering today!
- Birth date and birthplace
- Social security number
- Father’s name and state of birth
- Mother’s maiden name and state of birth
- Personal history – include past occupations, military service and honors, memberships, other names used (former married names)
- Family names – include children’s names / birthdates / social security / phone and address’s – immediate family i.e. Brothers and sisters and their contact information
- Contact list of who to be contacted in the event of your death / serious illness
- List by name / relationship / telephone / email address
- Legal & finance & insurance information
- Do you have an advance directive? What is an advanced directive: a living will or durable power of attorney in which a person stateshis or her wishes regarding medical treatment in the event ofmental incompetency or an inability to communicate.
- If not, what are your wishes regarding being placed on life support?
- Do you have an attorney? Name and addresss.
- Do you have a power of attorney? Who is it? Where is it?
- Current will? Where is it?
- Who is the estate executor? Name and contact info?
- Do you have an inventory of your insurance coverage? Where is it located
- Death certificates need to be ordered – typically done through funeral parlor or crematory
- Was the person an organ donor? Who needs to be contacted for organ donation?
- What is your banking account information – list out account numbers.
- Who are the signers? Add signers before death to insure your family can easily access (if you want).
- Savings account information?
- Do you have a safety deposit box?
- What other financial assets do you have and where are their documents?
Who to notify:
- Local newspapers / other newspapers from hometowns
- What picture to use for obituary?
- Who is writing the obituary?
Plans for funeral / service
- Burial or cremation?
- Do you have a funeral service location picked out?
- Pastor? Minister? Priest?
- Wake/visitation service?
- Who is in charge of arrangements?
- Pall bearers/greeters
- Songs to be played
- Who to read the prayers/scriptures
- Speakers to talk about your life
- Slideshow – who is arranging the pictures and the slideshow
- Earth burial .. Crypt/casket/ urn
- Do you have a plot already?
- Inscription on the marker?
- Where do you wish your ashes to be scattered?
- Cremation service provider information?
- Wardrobe to be buried or cremated in
- Flowers for casket / grave site
- Special messages to the family
- How do you want to be remembered … Party after the ceremony celebrating your life (maybe you loved hawaii and want it themed)
- Memorial contributions for a specific organization?
Other items to consider:
- Where is the pink slip to the car? Who gets the car?
- Who gets the wedding rings?
- Who gets the rocking chair?
- What is special for each person that you’d like to leave them as a keepsake?
- How are you marking items so they know who gets what.
- Having a marking party so you know what is special to everyone and everyone is clear on who gets what.
- Who is going through all the belongings to sort it out – what to keep, what goes to charity, etc?
On behalf of Wanda, I hope this gets you thinking and planning!!!