Sterling Heights, MI funeral homes

Preparing a Death Checklist

A death checklist can make funerals at Sterling Heights, MI funeral homes much easier for families who are already under tremendous stress from the deaths of their loved ones. When a loved one dies, whether the death is unexpected or expected, the family members go into shock, get numb, and experience a dramatic increase in anxiety and stress.

Shock and numbness are automatic responses that the body has to handle great emotional distress. However, your family will still experience stress from grieving your death and adjusting to the new reality that doesn’t have you in it.

Having a death checklist already prepared for your family can take a huge emotional and mental burden off of them in the early days after you die. What should a death checklist include?

The first item on the death checklist should indicate whether you want to be cremated or buried. If you want to be cremated, you need to let your family know whether you want to be cremated without a service beforehand (direct cremation) or whether you want a visitation and a funeral service before you are cremated.

Next, if you want a funeral service or memorial service, your death checklist should have specific instructions about the service. If you want readings, speakers, spiritual content, or music, give explicit details about what should be read and by whom, who should speak, what type of spiritual content you want, and the music that you want played. List the elements of the service in the order that you want them to be done.

The next item on your death checklist should be your obituary. You can write your own and attach it or you can outline what your family (or the funeral home) should include. Indicate whether you want just an online obituary (on the funeral home’s website) or you want both an online obituary and an obituary published in newspapers (indicate which newspapers it should appear in).

How your remains will be handled should be discussed next on your death checklist. If you’re going to be cremated, let your family know whether your cremation remains should be buried (give the name of the cemetery) or scattered. If you’re going to be buried, specify the type of casket you want, what cemetery you should be buried in, and what the format of the graveside service, if you want one, should be.

If you have dependent children and/or pets, they should be included on your death checklist with instructions about who should care for them after you have died, if you don’t have a spouse or other legal guardian already designated (this requires an attorney and should be taken care of in advance).

Your death checklist should also include documents that will help your family wrap up your affairs after you die. These should include a list of who needs to be notified of your death, who the executor of your will is and how to contact them (if it’s not an immediate family member), information about safety deposit boxes (either the executor or another family member should be listed with the bank to access the safety deposit box) and post office boxes, a list all physical property, information for bank, investment, and retirement accounts, credit cards, and insurance policies, and information for any services, such as internet, utilities, and cellphones, that need to be cancelled after you die.

For guidance on preparing a death checklist for Sterling Heights, MI funeral homes, our compassionate and experienced staff at Lee-Ellena Funeral Home can help. You can come by our funeral home at 46530 Romeo Plank Rd., Macomb, MI, 48044 or you can contact us today at (586) 412-8999.