If you are lucky, your loved one will have planned for his/her passing, with at least a will and some advice on his/her preferences. But, in reality, there are many more details that need to be addressed when preparing for death. Preplanning is helpful, if not critical, to avoid unnecessary legal and financial headaches and challenges during the process. Here's an overview of where to start your preplanning or what to check first for someone else.
The first step in your death preparation is to provide your personal details. This means not only your full name, but your date of birth, current address, and your social security information.
In addition, make a list of close family members and personal friends who need to be notified. Wherever possible, try to include their telephone numbers, email addresses, and mailing addresses.
These three documents - Power of Attorney, Healthcare Proxy, and Living Will - all expire at the death of the principal.
Probably almost as important as family details, is the contact information for the deceased's lawyer - telephone number, email, and address.
While life insurance may be the first thing to come to mind, remember insurance is pervasive in our lives - Life insurance, Auto/Motorcycle/RV/Boat insurance, Home/Renters insurance, Liability insurance, Flood insurance, and Dependent Health insurance to name a few. Each plan will have to be evaluated as not everything can be canceled immediately.
It is important to distinguish between these three arrangements. An estate plan is a comprehensive plan that includes documents that are effective during your lifetime - like a trust - as well as other documents that don't go into effect until your death - the Final Will & Testament.
When planning for death, circumstances will change throughout one's life. Updating your preplanning documents and wishes periodically will eliminate confusion from impossible wishes, such as leaving Granddad's clarinet to Uncle Harold when Uncle Harold has passed on.
If you have young children, there are guardian issues to be resolved until the children are of age. You may have a special needs child or elderly parent whose health, welfare, and activities depend on your instructions. Or you may have pets and/or livestock that will need to be taken care of.
There are always more things to add to your final wishes and preplanning document.
Since you are more familiar with your belongings and assets than anyone else, it would be best to note how to dispose of specific items of value or requiring special attention (like collections).
Step-by-step guide to what to do first. Calls, Paperwork, Care Arrangements, etc...
Where do you start? Physical remains, funeral options, dealth certificates, memorial services and more
Next hurdle - how to handle financial records and accounts
Key reminders on securing residences - rental or owned, apartments or houses - after a loved one's death
What you need to know to protect and elminiate the decased's digital presence
Don't forget the subscriptions, memberships, and more...
Funny, helpful and special stories that other have shared to help you through the process
For each section, download and personalize a pdf checklist