LIFE AND DEATH PLANNING: A CHECKLIST
Updated June 2017
❑ Durable Power of Attorney – Prepare a Limited or General Power of Attorney for the handling of your affairs, to take effect if/when you become mentally disabled.
❑ Health-Care Directive (or Living Will) – Write a description of your end-of-life wishes; deliver it to your doctor and spouse/family.
❑ Physician’s Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) – Obtain orders from your doctor regarding the life-sustaining treatment you want or don’t want. Bright green (post in a visible location). Intended for first responders.
❑ Will – Prepare a document naming Beneficiaries and Personal Representatives; probate assets are distributed through superior court
❑ Trust Agreement – Prepare a Trust Agreement or Will naming Beneficiaries and Trustees, and the non-probate assets that will be distributed outside court.
❑ Organ Donation – If you choose, arrange to donate organs and tissues at your death.
❑ Death With Dignity Process – If you choose, make arrangements with physicians and pharmacists so you can obtain life-ending medication when you have less than 6 months to live.
❑ Designated Agent – Identify a person to take care of responsibilities immediately after your death.
❑ Letter of Instructions – Prepare a Letter of Instructions that identifies the location of your List of Key Contacts and Important Papers, and spells out immediate responsibilities regarding your home, your bills, your pets, your funeral/burial/cremation, etc.
❑ Key Contacts – Make a list of the names and contact information for closest family and friends, lawyers, accountants, doctors, etc. Label them: “sibling,” “friend,” “attorney,” etc.)
EXAMPLES OF IMPORTANT PAPERS
❑ Trust agreements
❑ Deeds and titles
❑ Mortgage documents and promissory notes
❑ Vehicle titles and registrations
❑ Insurance policies (funeral insurance, life insurance, health insurance, accident insurance, long term care insurance, dental insurance, property insurance, etc.)
❑ Financial accounts (names and account numbers for bank accounts, brokerage accounts, stocks and bonds, annuities, credit and debit card accounts, safety deposit box documents and keys)
❑ Other financial records (retirement, annuity and pension records, tax returns, financial statements, contracts, etc.)
❑ Legal papers (powers of attorney, adoption and divorce papers, prenuptial agreements, military service papers, social security records, citizenship records, passports, proof of intent to donate organs, etc.)
❑ Usernames and passwords for internet accounts
Legal Voice is a nonprofit organization that pursues justice for all women and girls in the Northwest through ground-breaking litigation, legislative advocacy, and educational tools that help individuals understand their rights and the legal system. This checklist is an excerpt of the Handbook for Washington Seniors: Legal Rights and Resources, by Legal Voice.