On April 1, 1999, after a one-month
illness, my mother-in-law, LaRaine Job, died from an aggressive
brain tumor. On April 25, my father-in-law, Ernie Job died of a
broken heart and heart disease. We miss them everyday.
Among other things, their deaths taught me about the practical
matters that need attention when a loved one dies. I deeply appreciate
that Ernie and LaRaine left us good records about their wishes,
their investments and their estate.
Life is uncertain. We don’t know when we will die. The following
is a list of information that will be extremely helpful for you
to leave for your loved ones.
• A will.
• Information about your minor children that would be helpful
to their guardians
• An advance directive, living will or document appropriate
to your state that indicates your health care wishes
• Organ donor information
• Medical insurance information and forms. Do the providers
bill the insurance company directly or do claims have to be submitted?
• Information about your pets, including an immediate care
• A list of ALL of your bank accounts, credit cards, real
estate, loans, money owed to you, insurance policies and investments.
Be sure to include account numbers. For security, you may want to
keep this in your safe deposit box.
• A list of your assets, valuables and collectibles.
• Your special requests for your possessions. Do you want
certain belongings to go to certain people? Do you want the rest
donated or sold?
• A list of regular services and utilities that will need
to be paid or discontinued.
• A list of regular appointments that may need to be canceled.
• A list of subscriptions that may need to be canceled or
transferred to someone else.
• A list of the people and organizations you want notified
of your death.
• A list where important papers are located. This list should
include auto registration, bank records, stocks, bonds, treasury
certificates, tax returns, insurance policies, mortgage, property
deed, collection inventories, and personal records such as birth
certificates and custody agreements.
• Wishes regarding your funeral, services and disposition
of your body. Many decisions are difficult to make when loved ones
are experiencing grief. Here are a few of the many questions that
need to be answered:
Have you paid for your funeral or any part of it?
Do you prefer cremation or burial?
Buried with or without jewelry?
Do you have a preference for charity or donations?
• Biographical information to aid in the preparation of an
• Names, addresses and phone numbers for all of the above
In addition, make sure you:
• Add your personal representative or executor to those authorized
to open your safe deposit box.
• Organize this information in a file or a binder.
• Tell your attorney and your executor where to find this
information. Tell others who you trust.
Most important, talk about your wishes with your loved ones. It
is sad to think about losing a loved one, but the fact is, everyone
is going to die. Talking about it won’t cause it and not talking
about it won’t prevent it. But talking about your wishes will
help your loved ones prepare for the inevitable and ensure that
your wishes are carried out.
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