How do you prepare for the death of a loved one?
Emotionally and psychologically you can’t. I don’t believe it’s possible because until it happens none of us really knows how it will affect us; each response is as unique as our relationship to that person.
However, there are other things you can do to mitigate some of the anxiety and pain you will experience. Apart from the emotional and psychological response there is an intellectual response that I have found isn’t addressed properly.
Although people ask if you are alright or if you need help with anything you probably will say you are fine, or will be, and that you don’t need help (‘but thanks anyway’). The reality is that you will need help. You will be faced with tasks you’ve never done before and don’t know how to complete or even where to start. Being an Executor/Executrix of an estate is a time-consuming and exhaustive job that will take up to a year to complete and possibly longer.
This is especially difficult if you’ve been a caretaker for a parent who has been ill. You will have spent much energy not only caring for your parent but taking care of your own family and job. When your parent dies you feel a sense of relief that is a natural physical response but the emotions that follow will lead to a different type of exhaustion that will affect you physically. Some psychological responses will be loss of focus, concentration, and decision-making ability. This is exactly the time you shouldn’t be handling affairs yet they must be done.
There are things that you can do now that seem minor but will significantly help you later
Ensure your parents have Wills and that they are up-to-date; ensure you have immediate access to them
Determine where your parents have bank accounts and safety deposit boxes (do not store the Wills in the safety deposit boxes)
Determine if your parents have investments and life insurance and if so where the documents are kept
Determine if your parents are receiving pensions and if so where the information is for that pension provider, especially if they are receiving international pensions (the pension numbers and personal ID numbers will be necessary to make notifications). There may be benefits payable that you were unaware of.
Know where your parents store utility bills and any other items such as subscription receipts so that you will know who needs to be contacted and what items can be cancelled for refunds
Ensure you have all of their ID in one place including SIN, Health Card, and Driver’s License
Our company takes much of the burden off the Executor/Executrix. We gently guide you through the process, complete some of the work for you, and support you from beginning to end.
The best time for someone to contact us is immediately after the funeral. As hard as this may be to realize, it is a crucial time to discontinue pensions, apply for death benefits that can take up to 8 weeks to process, and begin life insurance claims. In fact, right after the funeral will probably be the time that you will feel lucid before the reality of it all kicks in. Once everyone goes home and goes back to their lives you may find it difficult because your life will never be the same.
One 20-minute phone call can save you weeks of work and an inordinate amount of stress related to the tasks you will face. Some funeral homes offer After-Care service but others hand you a checklist as well as the Canada Pension Plan applications you will need to apply for benefits. You may wish to contact the funeral service provider you have chosen and ask what they offer in terms of After-Care. We encourage you then to call us to compare what they offer to what you will need. It doesn’t cost you anything to call us except a few minutes of your time…it is worth the few minutes to ensure you will be getting the help you will require.
On our home page is a Personal Information Form that you can fill and print or print blank (no information stays on the computer; the page clears after you leave the page). Even if you don’t use our service please feel free to use this form to gather the information that we mentioned above.
You’re not alone. You’ve taken good care of your parents, now let someone take care of you. For more information please visit our website www.wilhavennational.com.