"As a sociologist, I know that aging and life's coming challenges are difficult to think about. It is easier to avoid these topics. However, addressing them logically is important. It can be comforting for the individual and family when approached directly. My Life Directory facilitates that action." 

- Anton B. PhD

When there is a death

(The following checklist is included in the booklet. It is offered here as a courtesy by My Life Directory)

At the very time when emotions are high, alternatives need to be discussed and decisions made. It is hoped that this list will assist in answering the question “Am I forgetting anything?”


  • Get a legal pronouncement of death from hospital, hospice, or nursing.
  • If death is accidental, ensure that it is noted
  • Contact a funeral home and/or coroner. Find any pre-arrangements or payments.


  • Make funeral arrangements. Decide if a cemetery is appropriate.
  • Prepare an Obituary (limit the amount of personal information that is included to prevent hacking, etc.)
  • Consider organ donation
  • Alert immediate family members. Ask them to notify more distant family*
  • Contact a minister if appropriate*
  • Contact an employer*
  • Notify religious, fraternal, military organizations and friends*
  • Arrange for care of any dependents*
  • Arrange for care of any pets*
  • Alert the person’s attorney or doctor*
  • Alert the person’s Patient Advocate*
  • Alert the person with Power of Attorney.* This document will be needed along with proof of death or incapacity for several arrangements.
  • Alert the Executor of the Will.
  • Notify the Post Office if change of address is needed
  • Arrange for phone calls to be transferred.


  • Determine the daytoday activities that will need to be adjusted...regular visitors, care givers, bills to be paid, taxes due, etc. Check refrigerator, thermostat settings, door locks, Ask neighbors and police to monitor house, cancel any home services.*
  • Get multiple copies of Death Certificate. Twelve is a good start.
  • Identify the email address and monitor.*
  • Arrange for any gatherings for those who couldn’t attend funeral, delegate arrangements if possible.


  • Locate: Birth Certificate, Wills, Trusts, Social Security card or #, Marriage License,
  • Military papers,Cemetery documents, Life, Property and Auto Insurance policies, Property Deeds and Titles, Mortgages, Investment Accounts, Individual stock and bond certificates, Bank, passport and checking account documents and current status, Recent current year income tax reports, Prior year Tax Returns, Any YTD income or payroll documents, Installment payment books.
  • Create a file with: Deceased full, maiden name, Date/location of birth, Age/Gender, Race, Social Security #, Birth, Marriage, Death Certificates, Deceased Father and Mother’s names, Veteran information.
  • Determine: Regular payments to be made or cancelled, any work/union related notification of benefits.*
  • Send: Thank you notes, copies of obituary if appropriate, thank pallbearers.
  • Notify: Health Insurance, Life Insurance, Mortgage companies, CPA, Election Board
  • Notify: Bank, PayPal, Amazon, etc.
  • Cancel: Driver’s license, emails, social media, memberships, Credit Cards.


  • Mail copies of Death Certificate to 3 Credit Agencies. Obtain a current copy of deceased
  • Credit Report.
  • Consult with an attorney about probate.
  • Meet with an accountant to discuss estate taxes.
  • File claims with Insurance companies.
  • Contact Social Security and other Government, State agencies that may have been making payments.
  • Notify Registrar of Voters.
  • Cancel any regular prescription fulfillment.
  • Contact DMV to cancel Driver’s license and transfer title of any vehicles.
  • Check on any VA benefits for survivors.
  • Contact employer about any retirement accounts or special benefits.
  • Check for any insurance benefits related to credit cards.
  • Review check book and checking account to determine regular payments or withdrawals.
  • Advise all creditors in writing that a death has occurred.
  • Change ownerships
  • Sort through personal effects. Separate that to be gifted, donated, or sold.
  • Remove deceased’s name from mailing lists, subscriptions, memberships.

*These items would also apply if someone is incapacitated, injured or in hospital for a lengthy stay.