Be Prepared: Top 10 Documents to Have in Order Before Death


We’ve all heard stories about those who kept the details of their finances and important documents to themselves – only to die leaving their loved ones in the dark. Here at Krause Funeral Homes, our staff meets with Milwaukee-area families every day who are caught off guard by just how much needs to done after losing a close friend or family member. This is especially true when it comes to compiling necessary paperwork.

Certainly, no one plans to get sick or have an accident. And while some may feel it’s too difficult or morbid to think about or plan arrangements ahead of time, a little organization can make all the difference.

So what steps should you take to get your own affairs in order, or those of a loved one? Begin by consulting our planning checklist, which includes 100 detailed decisions to address. Next, collect important papers and copies of legal documents. Then let a relative, friend, or lawyer know where your papers are in case of emergency.

The 10 documents below are a good starting place, though you’ll surely have other important information to add. For example, pet owners will want to include medical history and contact numbers for a veterinarian. Read through this list and remember you can reach out to us anytime with questions or to preplan your own arrangements.

Find and record the location of:

  1. Birth and marriage certificate/license
  2. Veteran’s discharge papers
  3. Insurance policies
  4. Bank/credit card accounts
  5. Investment accounts
  6. Property deeds
  7. Vehicle titles
  8. Will
  9. Select an authorizing agent
  10. Contact information for your attorney, insurance broker, doctor

Getting these documents in order will save loved ones time, energy, and the potential angst of having to track down information during a difficult time. You can remove even more stress by taking control of planning your arrangements. Do you prefer burial or cremation? A large funeral or a smaller, more private service? Do you want donations made in your name to a charity you support? What personal touches would you most like to include in the ceremony?

As you can see, there are many preferences you can express to ensure that your last requests are carried out. Our simple online form makes preplanning easier than ever, and of course you’re always welcome to visit our facilities in Milwaukee, New Berlin, and Brookfield  to talk though the process in person. We will help you with every detail so you can make unhurried decisions while preventing your family from debating over, discussing, and guessing what you would have wanted. Don’t hesitate to call or stop by today.

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