12 Essential Items to Help Your Loved Ones When You're Gone

What happens for mom when dad passes away? After attending to the myriad details that go into planning a funeral, smack dab in the middle of tremendous grief, the family turns to the matter of making sure mom will be OK. Did dad leave any lists of bank accounts, life insurance, instructions? Not that mom knows of...

It is not something we do very well as a culture, preparing for our own deaths, even though it is said that, "Dying is the only thing we will all do successfully." When we lose a loved one, grieving "well" takes a lot of space; it is an opportunity to press the "pause" button and tend to yourself and your community and vice versa. However, if one is buried in the task of unraveling all the details of their future and security, then grieving can take a back burner. Leaving our loved ones with the information and details that they will need in order to manage the future, is a tremendous gift. 

Below is a list of things that will be helpful to collect for ourselves and our loved ones so that they can feel grounded in their lives and their future when that time comes. Digging through your desks and files looking for the answers can be unraveling. 

This proactive effort may be as simple as writing the information on a piece of paper, to organizing a sectional binder. In this day an age it wouldn't be uncommon to set this up on your computer, just remember to leave the location of the information and password to unlock this document somewhere obvious. 

I suggest we collect and make available:

1 Attorneys, Accountants, Financial planner, an Executor of Estate Names and numbers of those you hired. List the reason these relationships were important and the documents, investments created. Where are these documents located?

2 Insurance Names, phone numbers, policy numbers for life, health, home, etc.

3 Bank Accounts This is the time to divulge any secrets! List the location, type, numbers and passwords, etc.

4 Social Security So much of what we do in life is linked back to our social security number. Clearly write out your number, as those you leave behind may be entitled to further benefits.

5 Work-Related Policies Life Insurance, 401k, Health Insurance...If something happens to you, what department at work does your loved one call & what are the details of your arrangements there?

6 Bills This area of our life is never cut and dry. List out your bills, automated payments or deposits and any special situations you have garnered.

7 Vehicles There are two cars parked in the driveway and you just helped buy your grandson’s! Title, maintenance, insurance & anything owed on all of your vehicles.

8 Credit Cards And you most likely don’t have just one! Names, numbers, pins, passwords will all be helpful.

9 Financial Documents Of course, the financial planner will be helpful with some of this and you may have had your hand in more than one pot. List all stocks, bonds, investments, titles, retirement accounts, etc.

10 Safety Deposit Box Always a mystery, these treasure chests! List the Location and address, number of box and where the key is to open it.

11 Home Mortgage & Real Estate Investments All relevant information should be compiled and numbers provided of any professionals that have helped in these transactions.

12 Material Objects If you have not indicated in your Will, how would like your stuff distributed? Your nice watch, your favorite piece of memorabilia and your golf clubs could be a sweet way to recognize your loved ones.

There are legal documents that should be taken care while all parties are alive and of right-mind. 

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