Getting Your Affairs in Order

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Life can get really busy. Even with a myriad of technology at our disposal to help make things easier and more convenient, somehow there still never seems to be enough time in the day. It’s hard enough to think about next week, let alone the end of our own lives.


But carving out some time to get your affairs in order now can save your loved ones some big headaches. Dealing with heartache will be hard enough, right?


Below are some things you can do now to lift the burden from your family when the time comes.




Put important paperwork in one place.

Making it easy for your loved ones to find your important documents will save them a significant amount of time. Be sure to tell your closest family members where they are located. Some of the most crucial documents and important information include:

  • Full legal name
  • Social Security number
  • Legal residence
  • Date and place of birth
  • Names and addresses of spouse and dependents
  • Birth and death certificates for self and kin  
  • Certificates of marriage, divorce, adoption, and citizenship
  • Employers and dates of employment
  • Education and military records
  • Names and phone numbers of religious leaders
  • Memberships in important groups
  • Names and phone numbers of close friends, relatives, doctors, lawyers, and financial advisors
  • Current medications (be sure to update)
  • Legal documents
  • Copy of funeral preplanning documents
  • Advanced directive
  • Who will care for pets or dependents
  • Documentation of pension, IRAs, 401(k)s
  • Insurance information (life, health, long-term care, home, car) including policy numbers and agents' names and phone numbers
  • Names of your banks and account numbers
  • Credit and debit card names and numbers
  • Location of safe deposit box and key
  • Investment income (stocks, bonds, property) and stockbrokers' contact information
  • Copy of most recent income tax return
  • Location of most up-to-date will with an original signature
  • Liabilities, including property tax— what is owed, to whom, and when payments are due
  • Mortgages and debts—how and when they are paid
  • Location of original deed of trust for home
  • Car title and registration

It’s a long list and it will take some time to find and gather all of the above information. Don’t try to do it all at once. Rather, give yourself smaller tasks to do over a span of time.


Preplan your funeral.

Taking care of your life affairs is an important part of helping ease your family’s loss when you die. But what about your ‘death affairs’?  Your loved ones will still have to plan your funeral or memorial service. Making sure your final wishes are taken care of ahead of time will ensure your family won’t have to make dozens of important decisions when you die.


At Chapman Funerals & Cremations, we make it very easy to make final arrangements in advance. You can either fill out our online form to get started, or call us at one of our locations nearest you to make an appointment with one of our planners. Once you’re there, they’ll guide you through your options and help you create a final plan. Some things to consider prior to calling include:

  • Do you wish to be buried or cremated?
  • Where do you want your final resting place to be?
  • What type of services do you prefer?
  • Would you like a viewing?
  • Where would you like services to take place?
  • Details such as officiant, types of flowers, music, prayers, etc.


You’ll be able to plan as many or as few details as you like. By paying for your arrangements in advance, you’ll not only take the burden of planning off your family’s shoulders, you’ll make sure that they won’t have to stress about the financial burden, either. Once your plan is final, we’ll secure your plan until it’s needed. When that day comes, all your loved ones will have to do is call us, and we will take care of everything.


Reach out to the people who will help.

You’ll want to enlist certain people to help you carry out your final wishes and take care of end-of-life details.

  • Tell close family members where your important papers are located
  • Assign an executor of your will and power of attorney
  • Discuss end-of-life preferences with your physician
  • Reach out to your lawyer to discuss your final arrangements and to take care of any necessary legal documents


The best time to plan is now.

It’s easy to put things on the backburner when other things are more pressing. But one day, needing to close out your credit card accounts, figure out who your money goes to, what to do with your house, and what to write in your obituary are all going to be very much on the front burner for the people you love. Getting your affairs in order and taking care of your funeral arrangements in advance can give you peace of mind now, knowing you’ll gift peace of mind to them later.


To learn more about preplanning, reach out to any of our funeral homes in Massachusetts – Falmouth, West Falmouth, Mashpee, Martha's Vineyard, Wareham, Harwich, Yarmouth, Marstons Mills, Nantucket, Bridgewater, and East Bridgewater. We are always here to help ease the burden of loss for the families of our communities.

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