What do you need to know when a person dies? Help me make my list! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 07-21-2011, 05:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So, I've been thinking about (finally) doing our will, power of attorney, setting up trusts for the kids ..... all of that stuff we do just in case both parents die at the same time and someone needs to step in for the kids.

 

I'm trying not to be super morbid and I think the chances of both dh and I ending up simultaneously dead or incapacitated is quite low, but I think it would make me feel good if I got everything ready just in case that happened.

 

 

 

I am going to set up an appointment with an attorney this fall to get all of the living trust/will stuff done, but I'm looking at my filing cabinets, fireproof safe, etc., and wondering how anyone would go about finding things and figuring out the estate/house/vehicles, etc., if both dh and I were to die suddenly.

 

I am pretty well-organized, and everything is labeled -- but I sort of want to have an "in one place" list of everything someone needs to know.

 

For example, where are all of my bank accounts?  Where are our life insurance policies?  What sort of property/retirement accounts/stuff do we have that we would leave the kids?  Where is the key to our fireproof safe, where we store the documents? ....all of that kind of stuff.

 

I am making a list of all of the important data, but I would love to know if anyone has any good ideas about this?  What sorts of things do you need to know when someone dies?

 

Thanks.  :)


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#2 of 9 Old 07-22-2011, 06:40 AM
 
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I think you have a great start.  That's pretty much what my DH and I have set up, and we let all close family members know it's all in the front of the top drawer of our filing cabinet.  Our accounts are pretty simple though :-) 

 

I'm sure your lawyer would be able to help specify any other pertinent things to have on your list based on your specific situation.


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#3 of 9 Old 07-22-2011, 06:51 AM
 
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It's great that you are taking care of all of this. It seems like you are covering the obvious stuff to help someone sort through your assets and financial matters. 

 

One less obvious thing to do is to clearly identify items if you want specific people to inherit them. Eg. Say you have 2 necklaces with pearls in them - one is an heirloom matched strand and the other a single cheap cultured pearl in a gold-plate setting. It's obvious to you that you want your daughter to inherit the heirloom when you list "pearl necklace", but it becomes arguable between your heirs if they end up fighting about it. Clear descriptions or photos can help avoid any ambiguities - and that's important when dealing with estates. 

 

 

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#4 of 9 Old 07-22-2011, 07:43 AM
 
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Funeral plans. My grandma died last year and it was really hard on all of us. One of the most helpful things she had was a list of all the music she wanted played, flowers she liked, and what dress she wanted to be buried in. Its really hard to plan a funeral when you are greving, so it was really awesome that she had planned it already. I know its weird, and a bit morbid, but its something Im going to do so that my family doesnt wonder if they did things the way I would have wanted them or not. IMO, funerals, like any party should be something that people do to remember you and are "throwing" for you. However, my opinion isnt shared by everyone, and some relatives are swindled by the funeral home and wind up making decisions they wouldnt normally make because they are grieving. There are also a lot of people who wonder for years if they should have done things differently.



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#5 of 9 Old 07-22-2011, 08:30 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zakdat View Post

I think you have a great start.  That's pretty much what my DH and I have set up, and we let all close family members know it's all in the front of the top drawer of our filing cabinet.  Our accounts are pretty simple though :-) 

 

I'm sure your lawyer would be able to help specify any other pertinent things to have on your list based on your specific situation.



This is what we did too.  Everything is in one spot.  My mom and my aunt both know where to find it.  Also, the attorney will keep copies of the wills, advance directives, etc. but that is only helpful if someone knows what attorney you used.

 

What my mom did was give me a copy of all her legal papers and copies of the statements for all her financial accounts.  Every year she gives me copies of the year end statements so in case something does happen, I have the contact information and account #s I need for all her accounts.  Now, your comfort level with your family members may be different. (I do not give my mom the same information, I keep it in the file.)  You don't need to go so far as handing over information but I think an annual statement copy of any accounts you may have would be good to include in "the file"

 

 


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#6 of 9 Old 07-22-2011, 01:57 PM
 
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Fureral plans are really important and will be something good for your family if something should happen. My grandma passed away last month and no one knew anything about her final wishes. We didn't even know if she wanted to be cremated or buried. It made a hard situation worse for my uncle.

 

Also, a list of allergies/medical conditions/meds the children are on etc would be good. Its things people SHOULD know hut when something bad happens people don't think, they go on autopilot. Insurance cards for everyone in the family as well as doctor's names.


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#7 of 9 Old 07-23-2011, 06:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow, I hadn't even thought about funeral plans, but that is a great idea.  The more I think about it, the more I think that when a few family members of mine died several years ago, the more the funeral home really stepped in and suggested a lot of decision-making sorts of things.  I think that they were being helpful and I think that it helped my MIL, who didn't want to make those types of decisions herself .... but I definitely don't want a heavy marble tombstone marking the place where my body was laid in a heavy, metal box that will be there forever and ever...or a miserable, sad funeral-type thing.  Thank you!  I am going to get what I do want in writing.  :)  That's a great idea.

 

I think putting everything in the top drawer of my filing cabinet is a good idea.  I am going to do that, as well as file the legal stuff with an attorney.

 

I hadn't thought about individual possessions, but now that I am thinking about it, that's a good idea.  I have some nicer jewelry that I would like to pass around.  Thank you!

 

Re: insurance cards and medical information - that's important - thank you.

 

 

 

Thank you, everyone!  This is all good.  I appreciate your responses!!!!!


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#8 of 9 Old 07-23-2011, 05:22 PM
 
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The best thing I found when my Mom died was a notebook with all her account #'s and online login info. I was able to go in and take care of a lot of stuff online and not have to talk to anyone.


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#9 of 9 Old 07-24-2011, 05:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We have a notebook like that, but it's so messy and a little outdated (one-time logins from a purchase in 2002, anyone?).  You have just inspired me to clean it up.  Thanks.  :)


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