Regardless of the loss we each experience, one of the realities that comes to mind along the way for many of us - is how unprepared we are not only to deal with the loss of our loved ones, and our grief - but also how unprepared we are if something were to happen to us.When we each are able to, and that may not be for a while after the loss we experienced - it is important for us to think about all the different aspects of estate planning; regardless of how rich or poor we may be. Documents like our health directives, power of attorneys, and copies of our important documents/passwords, and other should be stored in a secure physical place and/or online where our loved ones can easily find them if anything were to happen to us.
While none of us wants to deal with this type of planning, and specially when dealing with the loss of our loved one and our painful grief journeys - it is something that we all need to put into our "must do" list when we are ready for that list.
We are not associated with or payed anything by anyone or any company mentioned here, and are only providing these resources and suggestions because they were helpful to some of us grieving and members of this online grief support community.
A free service to store your documents (Up to 5 Gigs/which is a lot for documents) is provided by www.FidSafe.com (by Fidelity Investments), and as of the time we are writing this - you do not need to be a customer of Fidelity to sign up and start using one of their free storage accounts. FidSafe's description on their website is: "FidSafe® - The safe, easy, no-cost way to store, access and share digital copies of your family's most important documents." You can scan and upload all your important documents (ie, home title/deed/mortgage, life insurance, passport, drivers license, credit cards, health directive, organ donor, and other estate planning documents). Most importantly, if something were to happen to you, FidSafe will automatically send access to your documents to your designated and verified beneficiary(ies).
A free Mobile App that enables you to easily scan your documents right from your phone is called CamScannner (CS) Apple App Store, Google Play App Store, Amazon App Store, and you just take a photo of each of the pages and the app even corrects for lighting.
Below are some articles, as suggested by community members, providing more guidance on what to do after a loved one dies, their legal and financial affairs and other areas to consider:
What to Do When a Loved One Dies - https://www.fairsharelawyers.com/resources/10-things-to-know-after-the-death-of-a-loved-one/ Knowing what to do before grief strikes can help you navigate the difficult time following a loved one’s death. Article also provides the list in Downloadable PDF https://www.fairsharelawyers.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/10-Things-Death-Loved-One.pdf
Legal Affairs After Death - https://www.caring.com/articles/closing-legal-affairs-after-death
If possible, you'll want to see a trusts and estates attorney within a month of the death. Ideally, this will be the same attorney who drafted the will and established his revocable living trust. "The sooner you get started, the sooner it's over," Friedman says. And she finds that some people like having tasks to do -- it helps them cope with their loss.
Important Papers to Locate After Someone Dies - https://www.thebalance.com/what-do-you-need-to-do-when-someone-dies-3505207
"After someone dies, family members will need to locate all of the decedent's important papers. It will give family members and, if necessary, the estate attorney assisting the family with settling the decedent's final affairs, all of the pertinent information needed to complete probate or the trust settlement process. Below (In this article/link above) is the list of documents that are needed to settle an estate or trust. Copies of the documents are fine unless otherwise noted.
Estate Planning for Surviving Spouses: What to Do ASAP https://www.kiplinger.com/article/retirement/T021-C032-S014-estate-planning-for-surviving-spouses.html"After the death of a spouse, most of the attention for legal services is paid to administering the estate of the decedent. Often times, little time is spent focusing on the legal needs of the surviving spouse"
Getting Your Affairs in Order - https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/getting-your-affairs-order- Areas Included in this article:
Plan for the Future
What Exactly Is an "Important Paper"?
Steps for Getting Your Affairs in Order
Help for Getting Your Papers in Order
Do your Own Will https://www.doyourownwill.com/about-contact-us.html - Doyourownwill.com was developed to assist those with simple estates create their own will online for free. Doyourownwill.com is unique in that it quickly delivers the documents right to the user’s desk through a patent-pending process. Doyourownwill.com has been mentioned in The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, The Wall Street Journal Sunday edition, and Parenting Magazine" Frequently Asked Questions for Users https://www.doyourownwill.com/FAQs.html
Tomorrow MOBILE APP - https://tomorrow.me/about/ - "Who We Are: We believe that every family should be able to have access to financial and legal services without breaking the bank. Our flagship product, the Tomorrow app, helps you create a legal will for free, set up a living trust, and buy just the right amount of term life insurance". The Tomorrow app is free and can be downloaded in the Apple App Store" https://www.geekwire.com/2018/tomorrow-raises-4-3m-app-lets-create-free-legal-wills-trusts/ Veteran entrepreneur Dave Hanley founded Tomorrow in 2016. He lost both of his parents unexpectedly and wasn’t ready for the difficult financial and legal processes that were to follow. The experience made him realize how many people are unprepared to handle long-term financial and legal decisions — particularly those that lack the time or money required. Tomorrow provides free legal documents that meet the needs of more than 95 percent of Americans.
12 Documents to Prepare Now for Your Heirs - https://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/family-finance/articles/2018-10-04/12-documents-to-prepare-now-for-your-heirs
Open Legal Services (Non-Profit) - https://openlegalservices.org/find-an-attorney/
Open Legal Services does not provide free services. Although it does charge for all work performed, it does so at a much lower rate than other attorneys. Clients who qualify for services fit between 125% and 400% of the federal poverty level.
Those whose income levels fall below that scale are eligible for free help from pro bono entities like Utah Legal Services, Legal Aid Society of Salt Lake, or other free legal clinics. These agencies typically are funded through local and federal grants, which are subject to strict eligibility guidelines. Because OLS does not accept grant money at this time, it is not limited in the types of cases it can take.
Pet Legal Issues- https://www.funeralwise.com/pet-loss/legal/ Dealing with the loss of a pet can present a host of challenges. After all, your pet is not just a companion, it’s part of the family. Along with your grief, you are now faced with the task of determining how to handle your pet’s final disposition. Believe it or not, there are pet legal issues that may be important to keep in mind as you take care of your pet’s end-of-life needs.
Even Your Pet Needs an Estate Planhttps://www.kiplinger.com/article/retirement/T021-C032-S014-even-your-pet-needs-an-estate-plan.html Who will feed Fifi once you’re gone? It's something you should probably put in writing. There are three different ways to do that, some offering more protections than others.
Australia: Legal rights and steps after death - https://www.carergateway.gov.au/legal-rights-and-steps-after-death First steps - There may not be a need to do everything straight away. You may want to prioritise tasks and consider asking family and friends to help.
Some of the first steps involve:
- the doctor’s certificate of cause of death - funeral arrangements can’t take place until a doctor issues this certificate
- funeral arrangements - refer to the will or the pre-paid funeral plan direction if they exist
- registering the death - funeral directors usually help by registering the death and collecting the death certificate for you.
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