Page 25 - Senior Times South Central Michigan August 2020 - 27-08
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Senior Times - August 2020 Important Paperwork
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to Get Affairs in Order
By:Tate Goodwin
“Get your affairs in order.” That’s
not something most people want to hear, especially from someone in the medical profession. But exactly what does it mean? Assembling the information and documents family members or a funeral representative will need to carry out your post-death busi- ness.
The following is a list of the most important paperwork to compile:
replacement for a funeral pre-plan, a will can give others post-death direction or in some cases help the survivors fund funeral expenses.
Date of Birth and Social Security Number – Everything hinges on knowing these two all-important number sequences. As during life, post-death business cannot be conducted without them.
Insurance Policies – A copy of any insurance or death benefit policies is very helpful. At the very least, the name of the insurance company, the policy or contract number, and whether it was employer-is- sued or privately-purchased should be noted. Verifying that coverage is in effect is essential. Employer-issued policies may not be valid in retirement.
Notification Information – Up-to-date list of names, phone numbers, and address- es of individuals who and entities that should be notified in the event of a death should be written down and kept current.
People frequently assume they have blanket coverage when what they actually have is a very small accidental death and dismemberment policy, which is not use- able if the death was not accidental.
Vital Records – This includes birth certificates, marriage licenses, and divorce decrees, which contain important loca- tions and dates for these major life events. Certified copies are obtainable online by credit or debit card, as well as in-person at county offices.
Beneficiary Information – On insurance policies, investments and bank accounts, beneficiary information needs to be up-to-date and beneficiaries should know who they are, especially if those funds are intended to pay funeral expenses.
Death Certificate Information – The State of Michigan requires funeral homes to file a death certificate for every decedent. Family informants are required to supply the full names of the deceased’s parents, the mother’s maiden name, and the names of previous spouses.
Cemetery Information – Deed/ certificate and location of any grave space owned.
Knowledge of specific city, vil-
lage, township, county, and state where the deceased was born is also needed. Additionally, informants must know the person’s highest level of education, main job title and employment industry.
Funeral-Related Preferences – Burial versus cremation, open versus closed cas- ket, secular music versus religious: such preferences should be recorded somewhere.
Medical History – At a minimum,
the names of the deceased’s physician(s) are helpful to those tying up loose ends. More in-depth medical information may be required when life insurance is involved.
Of course possessing any or all of the above documents is meaningless unless your survivors know where to find them. You should let one or two trusted people know where you keep your important papers.
DD214 – The formal name for a mil- itary discharge paper, this document is required as proof of qualifying service in order to receive death-related military bene- fits, ranging from a burial flag, to a military headstone plaque to burial at a national cemetery.
Funeral pre-planning can be an exten- sion of affair-ordering. It is recommended to schedule a pre-planning meeting with the funeral home and placing important infor- mation on file there for the future.
Funeral Representative Paperwork – The funeral home needs an official copy of this information to know who they should be working with if it is not the next of kin. Blank copies of the form are available at the funeral home.
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                             111 EVERGREEN ROAD, SPRINGFIELD, MI 49037
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 Copy of the Will/Trust/Estate Planning directives – While not a
Tate Goodwin is a licensed funeral director and the owner and manager of Lighthouse Funeral & Cremation Services, LLC, with facilities Union City, Tekonsha, and Athens. A pre-planning form online at the Lighthouse website.
 The Estate Plan
  Vs. the Estate
Creating a will or estate plan is essential for everyone and can be confusing, but it especially important for seniors.
have the peace of mind that their assets and belongings will be distributed in the way they wanted once their debts are paid.
On the practical side, it’s important to remember that your older adult most likely has final wishes that they’d like to have ful- filled. But there’s no way for you or anyone else to carry out those wishes if you don’t know what they are.
An estate includes assets or things owned as well as everything owed to others. The estate will need to take care of paying any debts before the beneficiaries get anything.
That’s where an estate plan comes in. With an estate plan, your older adult will
An estate plan includes distributing a person’s assets and paying their debts as well as their healthcare decisions and other key documents as described in this issue.
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