Final Instructions

If you passed away today, would your family know how to access all your important accounts, files, insurance policies, and even social media accounts?

The current pandemic has contributed to hundreds of thousands of deaths of people who would have most likely lived much longer lives. Many of those unexpected deaths have left surviving family members struggling to put all the pieces together afterwards, not knowing financial details or the last wishes of the deceased person.

It has been said that people are dying every day who have never died before!! While that comment is made jokingly, many people have died over the last year without having adequate time to plan for their deaths, leaving family members with no idea about their wishes or desires concerning funeral arrangements or financial affairs. To help families be more prepared, we have developed a document, entitled “A Letter of Final Instructions to my Family,” that can be used by anyone to offer guidance to their loved ones after the person’s death or incapacity. The document allows the person to provide funeral/burial wishes, bank and savings account information, retirement and investment account information, real and personal property details, password information for social media accounts, as well as a host of additional information.

The eleven-page “letter” can be printed out and filled in, or it can be filled in directly by typing into the document on your computer. While this “Letter of Final Instructions” is critically important, it does not take the place of other legal documents that every person should have in place. Those legal documents, among possibly others, include:

  • Last Will and Testament
  • Durable Power of Attorney, and
  • Living Will / Healthcare Directive

Every person, regardless of age, should have all three of these documents completed and in a safe place. Further, at least every three years, you should review these legal documents and make sure that they still clearly carry out your current wishes. If not, they should be updated by your personal attorney. Because of the complexities of state laws, if you move from one state to another, your legal documents should be reviewed to make sure that they are still applicable.

However, in addition to these documents that you will need legal assistance to draft, you should fill out the “Letter of Final Instructions” that you can access on our website. As you will see, this letter provides details on information and accounts that are generally not addressed in the legal documents. Nevertheless, the information that you include in the “letter” will certainly make for a better transition for your family if something unexpected happens to you or if you become incapacitated.

While our hope is that you will live a long and fruitful life, you need to be prepared if God has different plans for you. Having the updated legal documents mentioned above, along with an updated “Letter of Final Instructions” to your family, will certainly make your transition from this life to Glory much easier on those you leave behind. So, take a few minutes and complete the “letter” – and then make sure that your next of kin knows where you filed the document so they can access it if something happens to you. It is the least that you can do for your family.


About benefitsboard

Art Rhodes is the President and CEO of the Church of God Benefits Board, Inc. - the administrator of the Ministers' Retirement Plan and the Church Loan Fund, Inc. The corporate offices of the Benefits Board are in Cleveland, TN.
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