Monday, July 23, 2012

After Death To-Do List: Can You Add to This Checklist?

A sun has set. Someone has come face to face with the Other Side of Through.
This checklist includes tasks to do immediately after death:

  1. Some airlines have bereavement or compassion fares available for family members traveling for an imminent or actual death. These fares are discounted off the full price, but may not be the lowest fares available.
  1. If possible, the exact time of death should be recorded. Loved ones may want to spend time with the deceased. Institutions where deceased persons lived will have procedures to follow regarding death.
  1. Family  members, hospice staff, and possibly others such as a spiritual advisor and a mortuary for funeral arrangements, should be notified.
  1. Several certified copies of death certificates will be needed to collect insurance and other death benefits. These copies can be obtained from mortuaries, vital statistics offices, county health departments, and online at county and state Web sites. Wills, trusts, birth, marriage and divorce certificates should be available. Social security cards, veteran papers, an obituary, and other documentation will be needed.
  1. Family members may want to notify newspapers about publishing death notices and obituaries announcing the time and place of funeral or memorial services.
  1. Arrangements with an online memorial service, often affiliated with newspapers, can ensure that those who do not attend funeral or memorial services in person will have the opportunity to participate online.
  1. Contact should be made with insurance companies, unions, fraternal organizations, government offices, banks, credit unions, credit card companies, and real estate agencies to change titles if necessary.
  1. Employee benefits from all previous employers should be investigated.
  1. Arrangements for child care and out-of-town guests must be considered.
  1. In the midst of all this activity, family members and friends should also consider their own feelings about death and the person who has died. The occasion that they may have been expecting while the loved one was ill has finally come. A life has been lived.
Information above is from Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes.

Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback at many booksellers and in e-book form at Amazon and Barnes and Noble booksellers.


  1. AnonymousJuly 24, 2012

    Alzheimer's is the sixth leading cause of death & there are currently no effective treatments. Please share this video and one thing that you never want to forget to help end Alzheimer's.

  2. One item that should be added both here and to most advance directives is some way to follow up on any and all Internet activities of the deceased. A list of passwords, together with any and all sites connected with the person, particularly social media, but many others as well, should be compiled and assigned to one or two survivors -- presumably cleared and appointed by the executor of the estate.

    1. I agre with John. I was following the blog of a young man, 24, with stomach cancer. I had no idea he had passed over until finally a friend of his emailed me. It was a bit unsettling. There should have been a final post from a friend, but someone needs to take responsibility. I volunteer blog for Habitat for Humanity. I would have to give the password to someone to take care of it!

  3. John, you make an interesting point that many probably haven't considered.

  4. "A life has been lived" is such a powerful line. I hope I remember it when I need it.
    I thought John made a good point, too, since so many persons have an online life these days. I suppose people are reluctant to give up their passwords, but it's worth having the conversation. Thanks again for another helpful message, Shani.

  5. Hi, PJ. Glad to see you're hanging in there. Summer is going so fast.

    John, would you please be more specific about "ways to follow up on any and all Internet activities of the deceased. Did you mean announcing the death to groups, circles, etc., deleting the accounts and all deletable information person wrote? This is such a new concept, I think many would be interested in the possibilities.
    Of course, others' suggestions on this topic are also welcome.

    1. Sorry to be late to reply.
      The "ways to follow up" would vary according to the site. Since I have been blogging for nearly a decade, I would like to have a family member write a brief post, identifying themselves and telling readers and blog-mates what's happening that a regular blogger is no longer able to post. In the case of someone using a nom de guerre whether or not to reveal that person's real identity would vary according to the person's instructions.
      Online bank accounts, credit cards, mail order and other sites should be deactivated and disabled to prevent any mischief from people who may read obituary and death notices for just that reason.
      Social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and any chat groups, clubs, and online message boards need to know when and why somebody vanishes. Again, the instructions of the person, not the agent, should determine how each of them is handled.
      The whole reason for any advance directive is to do just that -- give instructions in advance of the need regarding exactly what, when and how to do what needs to be done.
      Years ago one of my treasured occasional sites was The Octogenarian.

      His stories were rich, timeless and true. And as he declined and when he died his wife took over and set a model of excellence for all to follow in a similar circumstance.

      Readers who have a moment should go read this post by Mort.

      And here is how I linked it at the blog I had at the time.

    2. John, thanks for sharing more ways to follow up on any and all Internet activities of the deceased.

  6. This is a very interesting article and would make a great resource! I will share it with my coworkers at Hospice Integrity. Thanks for posting this.