What You’ll Actually Bequeath Your Loved Ones

Friends looking at sunset - What You’ll Actually Bequeath Your Loved Ones

The Gift of Planning Ahead

No one likes to think about the day they will inevitably die. Understandably, it’s uncomfortable to envision and not a topic most people willingly bring up at the dinner table. Unless you’ve experienced the loss of a close family member, most people have no idea what has to be done when someone dies. As a result, most families are left with more than the burden of losing someone they love, they’re left to deal with the seemingly endless details of planning they must attend to.

Below is a list of all of the things your family will have to do and consider when it’s your time.

Notify as Soon as Possible:

  • All relatives
  • All friends
  • Clergy/religious leaders
  • Funeral Director
  • Pallbearers
  • Cemetery
  • Doctor
  • Employer of deceased
  • Co-workers
  • Professional relationships
  • Employers of relatives who will miss work
  • Newspapers regarding notices
  • Social Security Administration
  • Veterans Administration
  • Insurance agents
  • Religious, fraternal, civic organizations and unions
  • Attorney, accountant, financial planner and executor of estate
  • Credit card companies

Collect Documents and Paperwork

  • Will (check for special wishes)
  • Prepare legal papers, certificates and permits
  • Birth Certificate/legal proof of age
  • Citizenship papers
  • Social Security card or number
  • Marriage license
  • Veterans discharge certificate
  • Submit insurance policies (life, health, accident, property, auto) and government forms
  • Disability claims
  • Bank books and listing of accounts
  • Other financial accounts
  • Property deeds
  • Cemetery deed or proof of ownership
  • Auto titles or bills of sale
  • Income tax returns, receipts and cancelled checks

Secure Vital Statistics (Required for Documents)

  • Full legal name
  • Complete address
  • Telephone number and email address
  • Religious name (if any)
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Marital status
  • Name of spouse, if married
  • Spouse’s birth name
  • Educational attainment
  • Citizenship
  • Father’s name
  • Father’s birthplace
  • Mothers’ name and birth name
  • Mother’s birthplace
  • Number and full names/addresses of all children/grandchildren/great-grandchildren
  • Social Security number
  • Veteran’s Serial/Service number
  • Number and place of service, date of discharge
  • How long at current resident/former residence(s)
  • Occupation, job title, nature of work and employment history
  • Location of work, telephone number and email address

Decide and Arrange Soon After Death

  • Embalming and other preparation of deceased
  • Method of disposition (burial/cremation)
  • Funeral home preference
  • Cemetery arrangements
  • Secure interment space and get exact location of burial/disposition
  • Arrange for opening and closing of grave/mausoleum/niche space
  • Secure endowment care
  • Graveside committal service
  • Secure use of cemetery chapel for committal prayers
  • Location of funeral or memorial service
  • Service type (religious, fraternal, military, celebration of life, etc.)
  • Decide on private or public viewing
  • Time and place for visitation and service
  • Arrange for special religious services
  • Provide information for eulogy
  • Select casket (open or closed?)
  • Select outer burial container and/or burial vault
  • Select urn/niche space
  • Provide vital statistics about deceased for newspaper
  • Clothing for deceased
  • Jewelry/accessories for deceased
  • Select cosmetology and hairstyling for deceased
  • Selection of scripture/readings
  • Clergy or other individual to officiate
  • Family and friends to speak at service
  • Marking of grave (temporary or permanent)
  • Select memorial marker/monument setting and inscription
  • Select charitable contributions for memorials in memory of deceased
  • Register book, memorial/prayer cards
  • Select pallbearers
  • Floral arrangements and transportation before and after services
  • Select music/musicians
  • Arrange for funeral coach
  • Arrange limousine for family and pallbearers
  • Arrange funeral car list for family and guests
  • Clothing for you and your children
  • Decide who will look after children and/or pets
  • House cleaning
  • Extra chairs
  • Transportation for family and guests
  • Reviewing and signing all paperwork (i.e., burial permit)
  • Answering numerous calls, emails, texts, letters
  • Meetings with funeral director, lawyer, clergy, cemetery
  • Arrange transportation and lodging for out-of-town guests
  • Acknowledging those who helped (food, flowers, donations, etc.)
  • Choose number of certified copies of death certificate to order
  • Food for family and out-of-town guests
  • Items for memento display and/or memorial board
  • Decide on memorial video production, pictures, music, etc.
  • Write thank you notes
  • Write obituary
  • Notify/close password protected accounts (email, internet, streaming services, cable, cell phone providers, social media, etc.)

Pay Some or All of the Following

  • Estate/Inheritance taxes
  • Funeral expenses
  • Purchase of family burial estate, mausoleum crypt, cremation niche
  • Family burial estate, mausoleum crypt, cremation niche opening and closing costs
  • Permanent memorialization
  • Monument/Marker engraving
  • Funeral Director
  • Clergy
  • Organist, vocalist, or other musicians
  • Florist
  • Obituary
  • Clothing
  • Food
  • Transportation
  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Medical practitioners
  • Ambulance
  • Hospital/Nursing Home
  • Medications and drugs
  • Current and urgent bills (mortgage/rent, taxes, installment payments, etc.)

It’s an overwhelming list. Imagine having to deal with all of it while experiencing the loss of someone you love. Even the most simple arrangements require many steps and decisions to be made, and putting them off can have more than just financial burdens. But you don’t have to leave them for your family to shoulder.

By preplanning your own final arrangements, you take care of everything ahead of time. That means not only is everything done exactly as you wanted when the time comes, your loved ones won’t have to bear those financial and logistical burdens while they grieve. Losing you will be hard enough. By preplanning, you can help make it a little easier.

If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of preplanning, please call us any time at 505-275-7200.

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