Chapter 2: What can I do?

Taking care of financial and practical matters

I don't like thinking about funeral arrangements. I don't want to talk about death while he's alive. It's painful and seems wrong, but I will because I know it's important.

It is normal to feel fear or guilt when preparing for the death of someone close while they are still alive. Some people feel that talking about death will make it come sooner. Others find they cannot talk directly with the dying person about these matters. However, taking care of wills and other legal concerns before death can help protect your future and your family's.

Take the time to create your own checklist. Think about which things you need help with from your family or from professionals.

Locate documents, keys and passwords

Make sure the will meets all legal requirements; gather passwords for social media, online banking, computer and wi-fi; locate power of attorney (medical and financial), advance directives, passport, safety deposit box keys.

Plan the funeral

Making important decisions about the funeral in advance can reduce stress later.

Plan how to pay for the funeral

In some provinces, joint bank accounts are frozen when one of the persons dies. Are you able to withdraw money from your dying relative’s bank account to pay for expenses such as a funeral?

Learn about your financial support options

You may qualify for financial support options like the Canadian Compassionate Care Benefit, as well as orphans’ or survivors’ pensions.

If the person cannot look after their affairs:

Have the dying person's family doctor assess their decision-making skills and if necessary, identify a substitute decision-maker. This process, while difficult, can help with planning.

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