Organizing End of Life Matters – What the Family Should Do
Organizing end of life matters is not something that any of us want to do, but it is an unfortunate part of our lives. Family and friends are going to come and go and when they do, certain things have to be attended to. Needless to say, planning ahead and having things in place will make tending to end of life matters much easier, but here is a look at what is generally expected of the family of the deceased:
Everything begins and ends with the support of the family that was closest to the deceased. You need to take care of certain things, but try to do so with as much care and consideration as possible for one another. Everyone is hurting during this trying time and the last thing anyone wants is to deal with such problems. Take care of one another as you work through the end of life details.
Organize your people
Certain family members will be better at certain areas. Have everyone work on something to help keep minds busy and the workload spread around. Focus on giving people things they will be good at where possible. Most importantly, don’t try to do it all yourself. Organizing end of life issues should be a team approach as much as possible.
Make the necessary phone calls
If the deceased was a veteran, you will want to call the veteran’s office in your area. You can also dial 800-827-1000 but that tends to take a great deal of time. Get in touch with a local office and they will help you out. If you are going with a traditional funeral, contact the funeral director that will be handling things.
Get paperwork together
Gather any and all documents that you will need and centrally locate them. Hopefully this has already been done but if not, it is the most important step you can take. You will need at least 15 different copies of the certificate of death to give to various agencies and places. These can generally be acquired by the funeral home that is providing burial. You will also need funeral arrangements, identity cards and birth certificates. Any identification can be helpful but the more you have the better.
Retain legal help
The taxes and end of life information can get quite confusing so many people like to retain a lawyer for such matters.
Protect them from identity theft
As sad as it is, part of organizing end of life matters involves making sure others don’t try to take over their identity. Thieves and criminals will sometimes watch obituaries and try to take advantage. This can be avoided by contacting the credit bureaus and the social security office in your area.
Look into financial matters
This includes the bank, their workplace, insurance companies and life insurance policies. Each of these things will need to be dealt with before the surviving spouse will be able to be financially secure. Make sure to take their names off of things and to report their passing to the proper institutions. Part of organizing end of life matters is looking after the survivors and their financial situation. Most people are not going to be thinking rationally at this point so it might make sense to bring in a lawyer to look after interests and be fair.
Probate the will
Ultimately you will have to work out the details of the will and go through probate in most cases. This is often the toughest part of the process simply because people might not agree about what was written in the will.
In the end, organizing end of life matters is much better served being done beforehand. The more you can do before they pass the better. Finding the right documents and making important decisions are a big part of end of life planning.
Good Read: Get It Together: Organize Your Records