Many people ask this question but have no idea how to get started. The fact that you’re reading this shows that you care. And what you care about is those people in your life who will be there when the time comes to deal with how to take care of your body once you are gone.

So where do you start? Here is a flow chart that gives you an idea about the questions you can begin asking yourself:

Think about it
Talk about it
Put it in writing

  1. Each person should prepare for their death by deciding whether to be buried or cremated
  2. Select a mortuary to be called at time of need.
  3. Complete a written plan for what you want for a service and the details necessary for a Death Certificate
  4. Communicate your wishes and written plan to two or more survivors.
  5. Follow the flow chart above.

Ducks in a Row

Get Your Ducks in a Row!

The San Diego Memorial Society strongly encourages everyone to get their end-of-life affairs in order. Failure to do so can cause your survivors’ unnecessary stress, as well as potentially thousands of dollars of unnecessary expenses.

To start planning, see our Ducks in a Row Checklist.

Here are the items you need to fill out the above “Bingo Card”

    POLST is not just a check-box formPOLST is a medical order and should be completed by a medical professional as part of a rich conversation between a patient the health care provider.
  • Will or Trust – Contact a local Trust Attorney or go online to get this done.
  • Disposition Authorization
  • Advance Healthcare Directive
    An advance health care directive lets your physician, family, and friends know your health care preferences, including the types of special treatment you want.
  • Do you have an Executor or a Trustee?
    This can be an important part of settling your affairs after death.
  • Vital Statistics for Death Certificate
    The death certificate has many questions that need to be answered. This will help you gather that information.
  • Mental Health Advance Directive
    A psychiatric advance directive (PAD) is a legal document that documents a person’s preferences for future mental health treatment and allows the appointment of a health proxy to interpret those preferences during a crisis.
  • Designated Agent – Who will be making your funeral arrangements?
  • Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare
    Part 1 of this form is a power of attorney for health care. Part 1 lets you name another individual as agent to make health care.
  • Durable Power of Attorney for Financial Matters
    California Power of Attorney Forms make it possible for a resident to assign an agent to represent them in matters concerning finances, healthcare, guardianship, and vehicle registration. An attorney specializing in this may also be a worthwhile alternative for larger estates.
  • Funds for Your Funeral Arrangements – Where is the money?
  • Body Donation – Science Care and UCSD are two alternatives.
  • List of Passwords – Make sure your loved ones can access your accounts.
  • Document Storage Service via The People’s Memorial Society

Take the time to talk with family about your decisions and educate them about how to do the same for themselves and their loved ones. Modeling proactive behavior and teaching others about being prepared for the inevitable is a great kindness that will be remembered long after you’re gone.

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