Life Events Logo

End-of-Life Planning Checklist

lifevnts   •

FeaturedLife Planning

•      •      •




Share it

Everyone should do end-of-life planning, but few people take the time to do it. It can be challenging to think about your death, but getting your affairs in order can make things much easier for your loved ones when the time comes.

Our end-of-life planning checklist helps you ensure that all of your bases are covered. Use it to document your final wishes, funeral arrangements, and what you would like to have done with your possessions. In addition, the checklist can help you to keep track of important documents, such as your will and power of attorney. Taking the time to do end-of-life planning can save your loved ones many heartaches later.

End-of-Life Planning Checklist

Dealing With Remains

After a loved one dies, it is often left to the surviving relatives to make arrangements for their remains. Dealing with a person’s body can be difficult and emotional, and the urgency for decisions heightens the anxiety.

It is essential to consider all options and make sure that the arrangements align with the deceased’s wishes. The first decision is whether to cremate or bury the body.

Cremation is a process wherein the body is reduced to ashes through intense heat, and it is an increasingly popular option as it is generally less expensive than burial. On the other hand, burial involves interring the body in a coffin or urn in a graveyard or crematorium. If cremation is chosen, you still need to decide if they should be spread or buried.

Some people even choose to have their bodies cryopreserved in the hopes they can be revived in the future. Dealing with a loved one’s remains can be a complicated process, but it is important to take your time and make sure that you are making the best decision for both yourself and your loved one.

End-of-Life Checklist

  • Burial
  • Cremation
  • Cryonics

Will & Estate Plan

Losing a loved one is always difficult. In addition to the grief and sadness that comes with saying goodbye, there is also the practical matter of dealing with the person’s estate. Unfortunately, this can often be messy and complicated, especially if the deceased did not have a Will or Estate Plan.

While it may seem like something that can be put off until later, having a Will and Estate Plan is one of the best things you can do for your loved ones. Not only does it provide clear instructions for how you would like your assets to be distributed, but it can also help to avoid any fights or disputes between family members.

In addition, having a Will and Estate Plan can help to ensure that your final wishes are carried out exactly as you intended. While no one likes to think about their death, taking the time to create a Will and Estate Plan is one of the most loving things you can do for your family.

End-of-Life Planning Checklist

  • Will
  • Estate Plan
  • Attorney

Memorial Details

By taking the time to plan your memorial now, you can spare your loved ones the stress and heartache of having to guess what you would have liked. Even if you have only a few ideas, writing them down or sharing them with a trusted family member or friend can be helpful.

The first thing to consider is the location. The location will depend on the size of the guest list and the type of service you want. If you’re planning a large gathering, you may want to consider a hall or conference center. For a smaller gathering, home or garden may be more appropriate.

Next, you’ll need to decide on food and drink for the event. What type of food and drinks will be served? Will your loved ones need a caterer? Do you want alcohol served?

Finally, you’ll need to compile a guest list, and preparing this list can be one of the most challenging parts of planning a memorial. In general, it’s best to err on the side of inclusion and invite anyone close to the person who died.

Your memorial plans reflect your life and your values, so take the time to consider what you want thoughtfully. It will be a great comfort to your loved ones knowing that they are carrying out your wishes.

End-of-Life Checklist

  • Location
  • Food & Drinks
  • Guest List
  • Music
  • Etc.


Next on your End-of-Life Checklist should be tackling your finances. After you die, your loved ones need to access your financial information to settle your estate. This information includes your bank accounts, investments, pensions, and other financial assets. They may also need to contact their financial advisor or accountant for taxes or additional business information.

Credit card debt or other outstanding loans will likely need to be settled before any distribution of financial assets. In addition, someone will need to notify the Social Security Administration and employer pension plans. If you are a surviving spouse, you may still be entitled to benefits from these programs.

Assembling all this information can be challenging at an already difficult time. Therefore, ensuring that your loved ones are aware of your financial situation and know how to access your financial records is crucial. By taking these steps, you can help to ease the burden on your loved ones and ensure that your financial affairs are in order.

Getting your financial affairs in order includes keeping track of bank account numbers, asset ownership, and outstanding debts. These steps can help your loved ones avoid the added stress of trying to piece together your financial history. Additionally, it can save them money by ensuring they can take advantage of any tax breaks or discounts that may be available. So, while it may seem daunting, organizing your financial records now can make a world of difference for your loved ones later on.

End-of-Life Planning Checklist

  • Bank Accounts
  • Investment Accounts
  • Loans
  • Credit Cards
  • Etc.


When someone dies, significant medical bills often need to be paid. Your loved ones will need your medical insurance information to settle these bills. Without insurance, the medical bills will need to be paid by the estate.

If you have life insurance, the insurance company needs to be notified to file a claim. The insurance company will then pay out the death benefit to the beneficiaries.

End-of-Life Checklist

  • Life
  • Accidental Death
  • Health
  • Automotive
  • Disability
  • Etc.

Vital Records

Several vital records are needed to settle their estate when a person dies. The first and most important of these is the birth certificate. For example, a birth certificate is necessary to obtain a death certificate. A death certificate is required to close out the deceased’s financial accounts and transfer ownership of any property. In addition, a social security number is necessary for claiming any government benefits or entitlements.

If the deceased were married, their marriage certificate would also be needed. This document will be required to obtain a death certificate and claim any survivor’s benefits that may be available. If the deceased were divorced, their divorce decree would also be needed to settle their estate. This document will be required to determine how their assets are to be divided and who is responsible for any debts or liabilities.

End-of-Life Planning Checklist

  • Birth Certificate
  • Social Security Number
  • Marriage & Divorce Certificates

Physical Assets

As you go through life, you accumulate various assets – your home, car, savings, etc. These assets can have significant value, both financial and sentimental. That’s why it’s essential to take the time to identify ownership interest in all of your assets before your death. This way, there will be no confusion about who is entitled to what.

To do this, you’ll need to draw up a list of all your assets and identify each titleholder. Make sure to include each asset’s location and pertinent information, such as registration numbers or critical codes. Once you have all this information gathered, you can start updating your will or estate plan. By taking these steps now, you can ensure that your loved ones are taken care of according to your wishes.

End-of-Life Checklist

  • Real Estate Investments
  • Other Significant Assets

Other Stuff

The list above covers the items that will be of primary concern to your loved ones. Our lives are not simple; closing them out requires diligence, which is even more challenging because you’re not doing it yourself.

Today, we live in a digital age, and much of our information is online. An often overlooked item is our online life. Many pictures and moments of our lives are captured on social media. While Facebook provides a method for memorializing this information, most cloud providers delete it upon your death. To preserve your online information, you might want to give access to your passwords to your heirs. An easy way to do this is through password managers.

Another item often overlooked is pets. For many, pets are like family members, and we want to ensure they are taken care of if we’re not available. Make sure your loved ones know what pets you have and how to care for them if you are no longer available.

We’re sure there are other items we missed, and we’ll continue to evolve this post as they are pointed out.

End-of-Life Planning Checklist

  • Password Manager
  • Pets


No one wants to think about their death, much less plan for it. But making an end-of-life planning checklist can make the process easier on your loved ones when the time comes. It’s not a fun task, but it will give you peace of mind and ensure your final wishes are fulfilled. Start making your checklist today – your loved ones will thank you for it.