The topic of writing a letter in case you die is a sensitive one. The way you choose to address preparing for death is a personal choice, but one of the ones I would like to talk about is the death letter.
The term death letter is ascribed as writing a letter that contains all the important information that your family would need if you were to pass away tomorrow. Personally, I think there are two ways of considering this topic that may hopefully make it seem less daunting or morbid.
One way is to be completely logical, and approach it administratively- write out a letter and put in all the details that are not ordinarily discussed on a day to day basis. For example most people don’t go around telling their relatives that they wrote a will or where it can be found.
You may also choose to look at the letter as a personal journey of sorts, considering the ways to comfort your loved ones and also provide them with important information. It can be difficult to think of this in emotional terms- what meaningful things to say to loved ones, writing details for your personal history, and then having to jot down the information that your family may need to take care of things.
I tend to look at it in a combination of both ways. For a very long time I was a single mother and so it really weighed heavily on my mind that I needed to know that my kids could see my writing to them, hear the words that I had written in their mind, and find some assurance in my love for. But I also looked at it as something that was necessary.
The other consideration in thinking about this type of planning is that many families have interesting stories that can be passed to their other generations. In my own family my grandparents loved each other despite the wishes of their families, this story struck a cord within me. Knowing their story fostered a stronger connection to them even though they are no longer with me.
My ancestors in Scotland had their own clan tartan and pretty interesting stories as well. I want my children to feel that sense of connection to their history that I felt. It’s exciting to know where you come from and what your family’s heritage is.
If you considering tackling this topic, here is some information you may choose to include:
- SSN, location of important papers, estate plan
- Numbers and names of Contacts
- Location if any of bank accts, safety deposit boxes
- Passwords of email accounts
- Newspaper clippings, documents, letters from your family’s heritage
- Location of contact information regarding online accounts/friends
Whatever you consider I am sure your family will find comfort in the details you provide them.