EOL Checklist

Loved one’s often pass unexpectedly and many tasks need to be accomplished at various stages. 

By using our checklist below, you’ll have piece of mind that nothing has been forgotten.


 

Upon Diagnosis of Being Terminally Ill

  • Understand Your Illness
    • Upon diagnosis of a terminal illness, be sure to get a second opinion, learn as much as you can about your illness and your treatment options. Be sure to explore both Western and Eastern approaoches.
  • Tell Loved Ones About Your Illness
    • Sharing your illness with your loved ones will allow them to support you emotionally as well as with your treatment protocals.
  • Create or Update Your Will and/or Trust
    • If your will or trust was created many years ago, it’s likely out of date.
  • Update Beneficiaries on all Assets
    • Update the beneficiaries on all assets that live outside a trust or a will such as an IRA, 401k, etc.
  • Update Insurance Paperwork
    • Update your insurance paperwork with current information including beneficiaries. Make sure your beneficiaries are aware of your policies and that they have the necessary information to open a claim.
  • Create or Update Your Ethical Will and/or Legacy Letter
    • An Ethical Will is a document that allows you to pass on your personal values, life experiences and life lessons to your family.  A Legacy Letter is a collection of your personal stories as well as your family to pass on to others.
  • Pre-Plan Your Funeral
    • Determine various elements of your funeal service such as location, pall bearers, floral arrangements, entertainment, speakers and more. Engage your loved ones in the planning and communicate your wishes.
  • Create Care Plan
    • Determine a care plan that suits you and your family the best. You may determine that various medications and treatments are the best way forward or that staying away from medications and treatment will provide the highest quality of life.  There are no wrong decisions.
  • Name a Legal Guardian for Your Children
    • If you are the primary caregiver for your child or children, you’ll need to name legal guardians for them prior to passing.
  • Give Power of Attorney to a Trusted Individual
    • A power of attorney is a legal document that gives an individual or individuals the legal authority to manage your affairs in the event you become incapable of doing so.
  • Organize Your Assets
    • Figuring out what to do with your personal belongings is arguably the most difficult task your loved ones will face after you’re gone.  You can help them by getting rid of any unwanted items and itemizing those you’d like to keep in a simple spread sheet.
  • Give Away Personal Items
    • Give valuable and/or meaningful items to your loved ones. Let them know, in your own words, the sentimental or monetary value of the item and why you’ve chosen to give it to them.

Immediately After a Loved One Passes Away

  • Get a Legal Pronouncement of Death
    • If  you’re loved one dies at a hospital, their doctor will make the pronouncement.  If they’re at home or a nursing or board care facitlity, your nurse can declare the death.  If your loved one dies at home without hospice care, call 911.  Be sure to have a DNR in hand as the paramdics will generally begin life saving measures and/or take your loved one to an emergency room for a doctor to make the pronouncement.
  • Arrange for Organ Donation
    • Arrange for organ donation if so desired by your deceased loved one. If you’re unsure of your loved one’s wishes, check their driver’s license or their health care directive. If your loved one dies at a hospital, they will coordinate the donation process.  If your loved one dies outside the hospital, contact the nearest hospital and they will coordinate the donation process.  They will not charge you for this assistance.
  • Dependents & Pets
    • Handle care of your loved one’s dependents and pets. If you are unsure of your loved one’s wishes, refer to their will or trust.
  • Bequeathal Instructions
    • If you are unsure of your loved one’s wishes, check their health care directive which may have specific instructions.  If they haven’t left specific instructions, the deceased’s next of kin may decide to donate the body to medicine.  A decision needs to be made immediately.
  • Transportation of Body
    • If there is no autopsy required, your loved one’s body may be picked up by a funeral home or crematory. Click here to find a funeral home in your area.
  • Notify Close Friends and Family
    • Ask your friends and family to assist you in this process.
  • Notify Employer
    • Be sure to ask employer about any benefits through the company including life insurance.
  • Secure Property
    • Lock up your loved one’s home and car and make sure it’s parked legally.
  • Notify Doctor and Coroner
    • Notify your loved one’s doctor or the county coroner if you are unsatisfied with the cause of death. Anyone can report a death to the coroner but in most cases a doctor or police officer reports a death to the coroner.
  • Distribute Ethical Will and Legacy Letter
    • Distribute your loved one’s ethical will and/or legacy letters. These are not legal documents but rather letters written by your deceased loved one that communicates their life lessons, values and hopes for the future.

Within a Few Days After A Loved One Passes Away

  • Choose Between Burial or Cremation
    • Determine whether to bury or cremate your loved one’s body.
  • Funeral and Memorial or Celebration of Life
    • Plan funeral, memorial or celebration of life. Although many people choose to host the funeral and memorial within a few days after the date of death, many choose to wait several weeks to give themselves more time to plan and to ensure greater attendance from friends and family.
  • Enlist Help From Friends & Family
    • In the days following your loved one’s passing, you will become overwhelmed with tasks including funeral planning and various estate matters. Reach out to family and friends to help where and when they can.  Your loved one’s want to help you.
  • Alert Military or Religious Affiliations
    • If your loved one was in the millitary or part of a religious group, contact them right away.  They may offer burial or other funeral related assistance.

Up to Ten Days After A Loved One Passes Away

  • Obtain Death Certificates
  • Meet with an Estate Attorney
    • Meet with an estate attorney for assistance interpreting and executing a trust or will and any possible probate items.
  • Secure Home
    • If your loved one’s home continues to be vacant, be sure that all doors remain locked and the security system activated. Call your local police department and ask them to check on the home periodically.
  • Meet With Tax Accountant
    • Meet with CPA or tax preparer to determine if an estate-tax return or final income-tax return should be filed and if a step-up in basis is required for any inherited assests.
  • Contact Investment Adviser
    • Speak with your loved one’s investment adviser for information on holdings.
  • Contact Your Loved One’s Bank
    • Speak with your deceased loved one’s bank to access any accounts and safe deposit box.
  • Address Life Insurance Policies
    • Speak with your loved one’s life insurance agent or underwriter to determine beneficiaries and to obtain claim forms.
  • Cancel Health Insurance
    • Cancel your loved one’s health insurance coverage.
  • Cancel all Other Insurance
    • Cancel all other insurance coverage for your deceased love one, i.e. automobile, home owners, etc., once those assets have been sold or transferred.
  • Contact Social Secuirty and Veterans Affairs
    • Alert Social Secuirty and Veterans Affairs of your loved one’s passing, if applicable.
  • Pension Services
    • Contact agency providing pension services to your deceased loved one to stop monthly check and get claim forms.
  • Cancel Utility Services
    • Cancel your deceased loved one’s utility services once assets have been sold or transferred.
  • Stop or Forward Mail
    • Stop or forward your decased loved one’s mail by filing the proper paperwork with the Post Office.
  • Contact Medicare
    • Contact Medicare, if applicable, to alert them of your loved one’s passing. Social Security should also inform the program of the death.
  • Alert the Registrar of Voters
    • Alert the Registrar of Voters of your loved one’s passing.
  • Close Credit Card Accounts
    • Once you’ve identified your loved one’s credit card accounts, refer to their will or trust to determine how they are to be handled.  If there were no instructions left, contact each of the credit card companies directly to determine the steps necessary to close the accounts.
  • Cancel Driver’s License
    • Cancel your deceased loved one’s drivers license to avoid future mailings and to prevent others from possibly using their name for fraudulent purposes.
  • Memorialize or Delete Social Media Accounts
    • Find each of your deceased loved one’s social media accounts and either memorialize or delete them. If your loved one didn’t clearly communciate their wishes for their accounts upon death, consult with their close family members and friends to determine the course of action most aligned with your loved one’s wishes.
  • Submit Will for Probate
    • Take the will to the appropriate county or city office to have it accepted for probate. We highly recommend consulting with an Estate Attorney prior to doing so.

Months Following the Passing of Your Loved One

  • Seek Greif Support
    • There are various forms of support including psychologists, psychiatrists, mediums and and group therapy.
  • Allow Yourself Time Each Day To Grieve
    • Each person experiences greif in their own unique way. Allowing yourself time each day grieve allows you to experience your loss gradually helping to avoid extreme feelings of depression.
  • Keep a Diary
    • Writing down your thoughts and emotions is a wonderful practice to help process and understand your emotions.
  • Connect With Loved Ones
    • Connecting with your loved ones won’t erase the feeling of loneliness and sadness brought on by the loss of your loved one, but it will bring you some comfort. Reach out and spend lots of time with your family and friends.
  • Be Kind to Yourself
    • Lossing a loved one is one of the most difficult events a person can experience in their lifetime. Although your tendancy will be to comfort yourself with your vice of choice, do your best to eat healthy, exercise and rest.