My mother died 8 years ago after a 9 year bout with Alzheimers (my kids cringe every time I lose my car keys). I am still trying to provide financial closure to her estate. She never shared information about her assets or liabilities. Before she died, I discussed cremation with her and she said “You are not going to burn my soul I want to be buried.” I’m glad I asked. Parents, don’t shy away from discussions on death and dying with your children. Discussion helps to take away the mystery and confusion that normally surrounds death. Spare your loved ones the stressful decisions.
I prepared a “Life Line Binder” for both of my children and we review it annually. The binder contains the following information for the 3 of us: birth certificates, social security cards, copy of driver’s license, deeds, titles, A Living Will, Power of Attorney, Health Care Power of Attorney, a DNR (do not resuscitate), insurance policies with account numbers, photographs, and a sealed hand-written letter from each of us to be read after death. I also had my kids designate each other as their beneficiaries.
The preparation and discussions will not lesson or shorten the grief process, but it will provide a method to address the sense of confusion and helplessness that always follows.