The Importance of Being Organized for Death

The Importance of Being Organized for Death

With the recent death of a friend, I’ve decided to re-post this blog that was written almost one year ago.  Although the thinking about our own demise is difficult, it truly is important to plan and have as much organized as you can. 

This past week was a tough one for myself and my family as we lost my dear Buba (my dad’s mom).  My Buba and I had a great relationship as I am only one of a total of three grand-kids.  You see, my dad only has one brother and he and his wife do not have children.  As you might imagine my brother, sister, and I were spoiled beyond belief.  If my dad said, “No,” my Buba would say, “Yes.” My siblings and I spent many summers living with my grandparents on the acreage/farm – working and playing!

My parents were making their way back from Arizona (driving) when my Buba passed away so I headed up to Edmonton to help my uncle prepare.  My sister was in Denver and my brother in New York City.  My dad was able to fly in to Edmonton leaving my mom to drive up with my sister from Denver.  My uncle, dad and I began the preparation for my Buba’s funeral.  As we were working through things, it became evident the importance of being organized for death.  This is something I really have not thought of before.  When we met with the funeral home as well as my Buba’s minister, there were many questions that we did not know how to answer.  For example, her favorite hymn, her favorite scripture reading, etc.  Throughout this entire process of organizing the entire funeral I kept thinking about the many things that should be addressed before one’s death.  I know I am probably leaving some things out however, here is a list that you may find useful.

1. If you haven’t already, have a Last Will in Testament written up by a lawyer that states your wishes.

2. Make sure you have an executor for your estate and/or a Power of Attorney.

3. Write down your bank account information (name of bank, address, as well as your account information).  You can keep these in a safe place (such as a Safety Deposit Box, a safe, etc.).  Make sure someone knows where you have put this information.

4. Include any other pertinent banking information such as investment accounts, RRSP/RRIF accounts, Pensions, etc. with your banking information.

5. Write down personal information such as date of birth, place of birth, and any other personal information.

6. Make note of your Social Insurance Number and keep that in a safe place as the funeral home/Gov’t of Canada will need that.

7. Create a list of all log-ins with passwords.  Keep this list where your loved one will be able to locate it (Safety Deposit Box, safe, in a file on your computer, etc.)

Wherever you choose to put all of the above, make sure you let someone know where it is located.  I was lucky as my Buba did have all of that with my uncle so it was no stress to have to locate items.

If you are planning to have a funeral or memorial service, you may want to think of the following:

1. What are your favorite songs that you would like played?

2. Are there scripture readings that you particularly like?

3. Is there someone you would choose to present a eulogy?

In terms of the actual funeral itself:

1. Is your preference to be buried or to be cremated?

2. Is there a cemetery you would like to be buried at or have you already pre-paid for a spot (and do people know if you have)?

3. Have you thought about pre-paying for your burial site, funeral, etc.?

I know I have just touched on the many things that one must go through to prepare for a funeral.  What I do know is that the more plans that are made, the easier it is for the loved ones who are left behind.  We were very lucky as my Buba had most things arranged.

Everyday gets a bit easier and remembering the fun times is sometimes what stops the tears from flowing.   I have let my own parents know that they need to get their wishes written down as they now see how important it is to everyone who is left behind. And yes, I have given them homework and I expect it to get done!

This is not an easy thing to do – thinking of your own demise – but something that I truly believe can be organized ahead of time!

I hope you have a great day everyone!



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