Our Funeral Document Checklist
There's really no way around it: in today's society, the death of a family member involves paperwork. In fact, almost from the very moment of their passing, there are important documents which must be located. Documents like their birth certificate, military records, banking and investment papers, real estate deeds, and insurance policies become more than necessary; they become vital. Unfortunately, these documents are not something that are typically carried around or often even easy to locate. Below is a list of some of the documents you may need during the funeral process to help you prepare and ease some of your worrying. What to Bring to the Funeral Home Appointment?
It's at moments like these that we pay the price of being disorganized: frustration can overwhelm the grief, leaving us emotionally drained, mentally confused, and frustrated as can be. So what can you do to alleviate the problem? Do what you need to do to get organized, right now.
If your loved one was organized, things will be easier for his/her survivor(s) when it comes time for them to make cremation and funeral arrangements for them. In regards to the document needs to plan a funeral we will need to process service-related paperwork include the following:
Marriage Certificate (if applicable)
Military Discharge Papers (if applicable)
Funeral Pre-Need Plan Papers (if applicable)
Deeds to Cemetery Property (if applicable)
Life or Funeral Insurance Policies (if applicable)
List of the Names of Surviving Relatives (and Locations of Residence)
Certainly, we understand if you cannot locate all of these important documents prior to our first meeting, and will do our utmost to support you in obtaining documents relevant to your loved one's life.
If you are planning to have a visitation and funeral prior to cremation, there may be other items will need. Please call us at 334-768-2141 to discuss your family's situation in depth, or to learn more about the above-listed necessary documents. Plan Ahead: The Documents Needed for After the Funeral
Saabira Chaudhuri opens the 2011 Wall Street Journal online article "The 25 Documents You Need Before You Die", with this admission: "It isn't enough simply to sign a bunch of papers establishing an estate plan and other end-of-life instructions. You also have to make your heirs aware of them and leave the documents where they can find them."
Especially from our perspective, truer words were never written.
That's why we urge you to take time now to locate and organize these same essential papers (birth and marriage certificates, military discharge papers, etc.), in addition to any estate-related documents, such as the following:
An original signed will, or revocable trust, dictating who inherits assets
A durable financial power-of-attorney form(s)
Durable health-care power-of-attorney form(s)
Information about, and the keys to, any safety deposit boxes (specific location and box number)
Vehicle titles (cars, boats, motorcycles, etc.)
Real estate deeds
Stock, bond and annuity certificates
A list of brokerage and escrow mortgage accounts
Tax documents for the last three years
A list of all banking-related accounts (checking, savings, money-market funds, or bank-related investment or retirement accounts), along with online log-in information
Insurance policies, including life, disability, homeowners, renters, automobile, and long-term care insurance (Family members need to know the name of the carrier, the policy number and the agent associated with the policy)
Pension, 401K, IRA, or plan information
Information about debts (credit cards, mortgages, personal or business loans, utilities, and taxes owed)
The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), in the 2012 online article, "How to Organize Important Documents", suggest family members sit down, once these documents are located, to become familiar with all of these necessary documents. Once reviewed, they tell readers to keep these "important documents in a safe, accessible place such as a secure file cabinet", and argue families should also "consider copying the files onto a thumb drive that can be stored at another location."
One more thing to consider when planning ahead from Michael Rubin who, in the 2013 TurboTax blog post "4 Ways to Safeguard Your Important Documents", reminded readers of one more necessity: to organize our necessary documents not only in readiness for making cremation arrangements, but in preparation for unexpected events (such as a natural disasters). He urges readers to create a "grab and go" folder, and offers the following content suggestions:
Homeowner’s insurance policy
Auto insurance policies
Scanned images of driver’s license(s) (front and back)
Social Security cards for the entire family
Credit cards (front and back)
Durable health care and financial power-of-attorney form(s)
Key phone numbers (of family members, friends, and co-workers)
List of bank account numbers
Someone we know (who was faced with the ordeal of locating the necessary paperwork related to her father's death) once said to us, "I feel like I'm losing my mind. Not only am I grieving my dad; I'm chasing around trying to find vitally important documents. Sometimes all I have the energy to do is to just sit down and cry." We understood exactly what she meant and hope you can avoid the same situation. If her words sound familiar to you, then chances are you're currently dealing with a similar situation and could use some support. Why not give us a call at 334-768-2141 to learn how we can help you in locating and safeguarding these necessary documents.