LIFE AND DEATH PLANNING: A CHECKLIST

 

Updated June 2017

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❑ 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
 

 Wills

 

 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.

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