A few more things my friend wished to share. Some of these I knew to do, others never crossed my mind. I admire her strength and her willingness to share what she's learned during this difficult time.
1. If you have a safety deposit box, where is the key?
2. Take index cards and notate what goes to whom around the house. Include a picture.
3. Make sure your living will is on file with both your doctor and your local hospital.
4. Where are the titles and deeds to the house and cars?
5. Sit down with your family member and review all the bills if you're usually not involved in the process. Make sure you know what's coming in and going out.
6. If you've lost your birth certificate...immediately get a copy!
7. Discuss funeral arrangements ahead of time, particularly open or closed casket. Your loved one may disagree with you on how they wish to remember you.
8. Make a DVD of valuables in your home. Include personal photos you would hate to lose, and copies of your driver's license, birth certificate, marriage license, and Social Security card. Store in your safety deposit box. If you don't have one, store with a friend offsite in case something happens to your home.
9. Women...make sure your Social Security card shows your married name. This is vital is something happens to your spouse!!
10. Make sure bank accounts state "Mr. OR Mrs." not "Mr. AND Mrs.". This will prevent the account from being frozen in the event of a death.
11. If there is a family plot, discuss the exact location and have a record of it along with the cemetery phone number.
12. Wait before calling credit card companies after a death. The accounts will immediately be closed and it may take quite a bit of time to get a single account re-opened.
13. Decide on cremation versus burial. There is a huge price difference between the two and some have religious objections to cremation.
14. Cremated remains are not considered hazardous material and can be mailed via the USPS.
15. Make a list of passwords and store with a trusted friend or with your attorney.
We hope this list helps and perhaps contains some things you need to take care of. Do it sooner rather than later! If you have more to add, please comment!!