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Preparing for life after death


This discussion is not what you may think. It is not about living in heaven, not about eternal life, but about living on earth after the death of a loved one. We must prepare ourselves to go on living after this horrific loss.


This is a discussion that couples need to have. It’s not that we are planning to die, but let’s be realistic, no one lives forever. We need to discuss wills, health choices, life insurance, who will handle our estate, bills, and anything else that comes to mind to aid our spouse in going on without us. Everyone needs a will, a power of attorney and a living will.


These are some steps I think are essential to make this transition less complicated.


  • Get a living will and a power of attorney before you need it. It’s too late after something happens. It also makes the decision making process easier for family members because it lets them know what you want.


  • If you do not have a Will, you need to seek out an attorney so that you can name an executor of your estate as well as decide where your assets will go in the event of your death.


  • Don’t wear blinders while your spouse lives. Be aware of your household operations. Some are blessed to have a spouse who handles everything. And while this may be a good thing, you need to know how to do it as well, even if you don’t have to do it now.


  • Know what bills are due, when they are due and how much is due.


  • Know what you can afford. Remember your income has decreased. So you may have to make some lifestyle adjustments.


  • While funds are readily available, (insurance proceeds) pay off everything you possibly can. Eliminate every bill that can be eliminated. Don’t think of the insurance proceeds as extra cash and proceed on a spending frenzy. It can be costly in the end.


  • Present death certificates to everyone that needs or requires one. In addition to this, review information on the death certificate for accuracy. An inaccurate death certificate can delay processing insurance claims.


  • If your name is not on accounts (i.e. utility bills), account holders/service providers may be unwilling to talk with you if you are not the named executor of the estate of the deceased one. This is why having a will and power of attorney are so important.


  • If you have not already done so, get utility bills transferred into your name as soon as possible after the death of your loved one. If ever there are discrepancies on the account, they may be unwilling to talk to you if this has not been done .You do not want any interruptions in service.


  • Make sure that both parties are listed on vehicle titles and property deeds while both are living. (It is advisable to seek legal guidance regarding this item). This is especially necessary where blended families are involved.


  • Know your spouse’s social security number. Although the funeral director will notify the social security adminstration that your loved one has passed on, you too will need to notify them as well. Also, if you are 60 years old or older, you may qualify for survivor benefits. If there are dependent children it will be helpful to have their social security numbers available as well. They may be entiltled to benefits as well. The social security administration will be able to assist you with this. You may also need to check to see if you qualify for other survivor benefits as well, i.e.-VA benefits.


This is very important information. I trust it will be helpful to you and that you will take heed before it becomes necessary. As more information becomes available or comes to mind, it will be added.


For blended families, please read further by clicking here........


May the Lord richly bless and keep you.

Evangelist Dr. J. G. Johnson
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