If I should die before I wake, I pray my password’s up to date

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Death can find us unprepared, as with Lillian Gish as Mimi and John Gilbert as Rodolphe in the 1926 MGM production of "La Boheme." Source: UCLA Film and Television Archive


You can help your family by sharing information now that they will need later on, when you are dead.

Many of us talk about our own death in terms such as, “If I die . . .” The truth is that it’s not a matter of if but a matter of when.

There are countless stories of families who believed they had plenty of time or thought they had told their loved ones everything, only to have survivors struggle to organize bank records, insurance policies, deeds and other important financial instruments.

This can happen at the time of death or during a long illness that decreases your loved ones’ ability to accurately recall financial details.

The AARP, formerly called the American Association of Retired Persons, offers tips to ease the burden of sorting through financial and other matters after a loved one’s death. The most important step seems to be sharing in advance information about where important documents are located and the passwords for email, bank accounts and credit cards.

Your password list for your survivors also needs to include secret questions and their answers, such as the first school you attended, your favorite car and the like.

Dallas County Health Navigation can assist families in connecting to legal and financial advisors who are experts in such matters. After a loss, Health Navigation can also refer you to a bereavement support group. For more information, call 515-993-3750 or email phn@dallascountyiowa.gov.

Ann Cochran is the health navigation coordinator in the Dallas County Public Health Department.

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