The referenced article (below) talks
about a lady who was facing death with cancer and she was worried about her family knowing certain things she wanted done
in case she died. She created a thing called the 'Uh Oh File'" which contained practical information as well the personal
details like "I want John Tavernas' Hallelujah played at my funeral to an array of things." Or, "Who
I want to write my obituary" and all the notes for it.
Forms You Can Use
A simple notebook containing this information can be a
valuable gift to your family. Just make a folder (or notebook) called "UhOh File" or "My Personal File" and jot down some
important information to help your family. Somethings you could put in there would be:
Here are a few forms from the Resource page to get you started:
Where to Find My Important Papers
Sections To Include
Should include things like your name,
maiden name, address, social security number, etc. to identify who you are. It would probably help to write something that
"This is the personal file of (fill in your name) and contains things I would like done in case of
an emergency or my death."
and leave a place for you to sign it and someone to witness your signature.
After then, no one needs to be looking into your file unless you want them to!
Using one of those notebooks with sleeves
for sticking documents, etc. would probably work best.
Some things to consider including are:
DNR (do not resuscitate order) if you have a one, put it there. If not write a few words
how you feel about extra ordinary measures being taken to extend your life if your heart stopped for any reason. If you don't
have one ask your doctor or local hospital for one to fill out that reflects your state laws. To see a sample of one
Click here for sample DNR form
Or, you can get a bracelet with DNR on it to wear. This would be a med alert
bracelet and those must include your name and address, and the name and telephone number of your attending physician. Ask
your doctor or local hospital where you can get one of these. They cost about $35 for stainless steel, and up to $115 for
silver thru MedicAlert. Click here to see the emblems used in MedicAlert braclets: Emblems
Hopefully you have one, stick it in the folder. If you don't have
one ask your doctor or local hospital for one to fill out that reflects your state laws or see Download State Specific
Health Care Surrogate **
If you weren't able to make your
own decisions, who would you want to be allowed to make them for you?
This person should know you and understand your wishes about medical treatments.
He or she can only make decisions if you became unable to do so yourself.
If you don't have a form ask your doctor or local hospital for one to fill
out that reflects your state laws or to get a sample click above.
To read about any changes or alerts on your State's advance directives go to
this site for updates: State changes
Financial Documents-Hiding Places
- If someone else isn't on your checking, savings, stocks, bonds, etc. you may want to
consider adding their name.
- If nothing else, write down all the things you have and where to find them (yes, even
those hidden "mad money" bankbooks).
- Also write down any credit cards you may have and who to contact. Any debts (places you
owe money to) who maybe contacting the family?
Personal Papers To Be Included
Marriage, birth and divorce certificates, life insurance policies, etc. should all be
in a lock box somewhere but if they're hidden in a candy-box under your bed, be sure to note where they can be found!
Some insurance and other facilities/people might need copies of these after you're gone.
Obituary-What Do You Want In It?
Not a pleasant subject but we've all read them and some are pretty dull. If you want anything
special about your life included in your own obit, write it down so someone will know what to put in the papers.
- If you have a favorite picture of yourself you want used, put one in this section of
your file too.
- Also the names of special family members. To include friends and anything outside the
immediate family will become a "paid" obit and have an extra cost with any newspaper.
People You Want Contacted
- Also, make sure you say where you would like any donations made too. Newspapers require
a release from that organization to include their address.
Yes, your family probably knows the immediate people to contact. But, do you have an old friend or others you want to know
if you have died? Include their name and how to get in contact with them.
What about your on-line friends or support
groups? Include a list of who they are, their email addresses, etc. so that someone can send a message from your computer
to them. You may even want to write the note, yourself, that you want sent.
Funeral Arrangements-Your Last Wishes
Do you want a funeral? A viewing?
- Or maybe just a Memorial Service where people get together to honor and remember the
good things in your life? Or both?
- How about music? Any favorite songs you'd like played?
- Do you have a favorite flower?
- For a Memorial Service, any favorite place you'd like it to be held?
- How about a lasting memorial - would you want a tree or something like that planted in
- Or how about a bench with a favorite (short) quote to be engraved on it?
Write all these things down here in your file.
Sorry this should be done by an attorney. Just make SURE a copy of your will is in your
What you can write down in your file is who you want to get special things you own. This can help defray
some possible bickering among relatives after you've gone (not that your family would bicker).
- Advance directives and living wills are not complicated legal documents. They can be
short, simple statements about what you want done or not done if you can't speak for yourself.
- Anything you write by yourself or with a computer software package should follow your
state laws. The orders should be notarized if possible, and a copy should be given to your family and your doctor.
I hope this summary of some of the forms contained on this website was of some help to
you. I know making all of these plans before the time of need was a tremendous help to me when my Mom and daughter died.
* Commonly used life-support measures
To read about commonly used life-support measures like Artificial Nutrition (feeding
tubes), CPR or Mechanical ventilation, and what they mean when you write you either want them or not in your living will,
click the following page, then go down to about the middle of the page. Commonly Used Life Support Measures
** The Health Care Surrogate
If you are someone's Health Care Surrogate, or want to find out a surrogate's responsibilities,
click on following: Responsibilities of A Health Care Surrogate
The idea for this article came from the following source:
"A Good Death-Part I Facing The Fear"