Impact – Wealth Management


When Someone You Love is Dying

When someone you love is dying, it can feel like your world is spinning out of control. 

There are so many emotions, so many worries, so much to think about.  While there’s nothing I have found that makes this time EASIER, there are a few practical things you can do in preparation that will help ensure things are as organized as possible prior to saying your final goodbye.  

Getting Organized

The most important thing you can do is spend quality time with your loved one… so there is no need to spend a lot of time trying to get specific details about these items.  

For now just find out if the following items exist and their location:

Power of attorney documents

A power of attorney document gives a designated person the right to act on behalf of someone else.  This document is valid only while your loved one is alive.  It is very useful when end of life decisions have to be made.  

Some people have one document that covers both powers of attorney for healthcare decisions and financial decisions.  But it is possible that there are two power of attorney documents: one for healthcare decisions and one for financial decisions.  

Ideally, power of attorney documents should be dated within the last 5 years.

Advanced Medical directives (living will)

A living will specifically outlines your loved ones wishes as they pertain to end of life medical care (for instance, life support, feeding tubes, etc.) 

This is a little different than a durable power of attorney document.  A durable power of attorney appoints someone to make all medical decisions in the event of incapacitation.  In contract, a living will is drafted to give instructions on end of life issues.  It is possible that the hospital has this document on file.

Safe deposit box location and keys

It is important to know if your loved one has a safe deposit box and where the key is.  Valuable items are often stored in a safe deposit box.

Many people store their wills in safe deposit boxes.  This may not be ideal because the bank often “seals” the safe deposit box upon the owners death making the wills inaccessible.

Home safe location and combination or key

List of financial accounts

It is very helpful to have a comprehensive list of financial accounts that includes account titles, account numbers, approximate values, and the name of the institution where the money is held.  If getting this information from your loved one seems too laborious, perhaps the most important thing to know is the name of the place where the accounts are held (for instance, where do they bank?  What company/companies do they have investments with).  

Names and contact info of Key Players (financial advisor, accountant, attorney, etc.)

It could also be a good idea to alert their financial advisor and estate planning attorney of the situation.

Cemetery Plots, Preplanned/Prepaid Funeral Arrangements

Some people have prepaid their funeral arrangements at a specific funeral home.  It is, of course, important to know with which funeral home they have made these arrangements.  A lot of funeral homes are part of a network so if it has become inconvenient to use the funeral home where the expenses have been prepaid, you can inquire with them about your options.  

Other times people have preplanned, but not prepaid their services.  These plans could be on file with a funeral home or just written in a notebook at home. 

It is also possible (whether or not they pre-paid their funerals) that they have purchased a cemetery plot.  It is important to know which cemetery and if there is paperwork stored somewhere regarding this purchase.  

Wills/Trust Documents

It is ideal to know the location of the original signed wills and or trust documents.  If the originals can’t be located, check with the office of the attorney who drafted the documents. 

List of Subscription Services (medicines, Amazon auto-ship, etc.)

List of passwords or master password to their password keeper

Sometimes the simple act of checking things off of a to-do list helps us relax a little.  Knowing the location of these 10 items will be extremely beneficial when it comes time to make final arrangements and settle your loved one’s estate.  And hopefully it also helps you feel a little more in control during this time of uncertainty.   

This blog is for educational purposes only.  This list is not exhaustive and should in no way be considered legal advice or a replacement for such.  Since everyone’s situation is different, please contact an attorney for questions and advice.  Impact Wealth Management LLC is a fee-only Registered Investment Advisor (RIA). We are based in beautiful Sioux Falls, SD and regulated by the State of South Dakota. Throughout this site, we went out of our way to present unbiased data believed to be from reliable and respected sources. However, its accuracy, completeness, and relevance are not guaranteed, and no responsibility is assumed for errors or omissions.