Death and the living

I am an old person living outside the USA. My only off spring is a 32 y/o married daughter living in the USA. If all goes well, I will die before her. I have instructed friends here on how to contact her in case of an emergency or death. They also know what to do with the body, i,e cremation, scattering of the ashes. My daughter is listed as the beneficiary of everything. I have left her passwords for everything. I have left her a list of who to give my possessions if she doesn’t want them. Am I leaving anything out? I ask you folks because of the combined intellect that you have. And possibly because you may be familiar with this action. I would like this event to be a non event, and go as smoothly as possible for her. Thank you for your help.

If your jurisdiction has something similar to what in the US is popularly called a “Living Will”, or a “Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care”, you may want to consider executing one. It’s a document authorizing someone to make healthcare decisions for you in the event that you become incapacitated.

Beneficiary is one thing, I am azzuming a will? Consider a trust for your assets. Avoid probate. Of course this may be moot depending on where you are.

Don’t forget things like tax returns, bank accounts, utility accounts. There’s a lot of office people that need to be informed of a death so they can close down accounts.

I am trying to think of what else you need because I typed everything out for my husband and daughter, too, and I keep thinking I am missing something. Passwords were a big thing because I want my Facebook and email accounts shut down. Have you actually preplanned your cremation? Or will your daughter choose where?

And the ownership paperwork on any vehicles you own. My aunt ran into some real trouble trying to sell my uncle’s truck and change the registration on her car into her name when he died. But not as much trouble as she ran into trying to access their joint checking account after she informed the bank he was dead–they froze the account, which contained most of their ready money, which made paying bills a real shitshow.

Regarding the creation, I have asked a family that has “adopted” me to make the arrangements, and scatter the ashes. But you are right, I should discuss this with my daughter. Thank you.

Having just gone through this.

  1. Have a clear will.
  2. Prepay your funeral expenses
  3. Have a living will so people know your intentions
    3a. Have your living will reviewed by someone you trust in the medical profession who will tell it to you straight. Your loved ones might move heaven and earth to have you die at home if that is your desire, but it may also be a HUGE burden to them to do so, when hospice may be better.
  4. Keep good records of all your finances
  5. Make your final tax returns easy to file - if you have a lot of individual stocks, sell them and put them into a few mutual funds - schedule Ds are a pain in the butt.
  6. Consolidate your finances to one or two financial organizations - don’t spread accounts all over the place.
  7. Keep any property you own in good order. Getting rid of a car with bad breaks or a house with a roof that needs to be fixed is a burden you don’t need to leave behind.
  8. Give away as much of your stuff that matters before you die (and throw away the stuff that doesn’t). Leave clear instructions for the rest.
  9. Having them log into your accounts with your passwords may be fraud. Our attorney specifically recommended NOT doing that. Especially the financial ones.
  10. If you have reason to think death is anything near, your friends would rather see you now than travel for your funeral. Visit them, call them.

I’ll probably think of a few more - mostly things my well loved brother in law did not do, some of which are still a burden to us a year later.