Death isn’t a topic we like to discuss, but it’s a conversation families should have before an immediate need arises. No one can argue that with every death, there is a certain amount of arrangements that will have to be made sometime by someone. Compiling the basic records of life like military service records, social security numbers, life insurance policies, mother’s maiden name, divorce or wedding documents, etc. is an ordeal we avoid whenever possible. When death occurs avoidance is no longer possible – there is an immediate need for those records.
If discussing or even thinking about death is difficult for you, start small. Have you purchased life insurance? How about a will? Have you appointed an “Agent” to authorize your funeral arrangements? If you have, you HAVE started planning for your death. Think about it this way, if you are having a difficult time thinking about your death or the death of those you love — imagine how much more difficult it will be once the death has occurred. These decisions are difficult enough to make in advance. They are even more difficult for people who are grieving to make. This section is designed to help make it a little easier for you and your survivors.
Start small; create a file that contains the details your survivors will need. At the end of this section there is a list of the items that will help you begin to think about and discuss the many details that will be needed upon your death. We’ve also included a Personal Data Form so the information that will be needed for the Death Certificate is readily available. Gather the necessary information, papers, etc. and make copies, put them in that file.
Once you’ve done that, don’t stop there. This next item is probably the most important: discuss this with your family. What good are any arrangements if no one knows they exist? Give your family a copy of your arrangements and important papers in a duplicate “Upon my death”.
Now you are ready for the final step. Decide which level of planning is right for you and your family. Planning your funeral doesn’t have to include paying for it in advance. The next page will help you understand the levels of planning and some of the payment options available.