Article Credits: The New York Times | September 6, 2014 | By Alina Tugend | Courtesy of Ed Slott and Company
WILLS, health care directives, lists of passwords to online accounts. By now, most people know they should prepare these items in their estate planning — even if they haven’t yet — and make them available to trusted family members before the unthinkable, yet inevitable, happens.
But the information family and friends will need when a loved one dies goes far beyond those much-talked-about documents, and having them can make the end of life just a little less painful for those who remain behind.
Consider the experience of John J. Scroggin, who runs a tax business and estate-planning firm in Atlanta. His father, who died in 2001, wanted to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Washington.
“I called Arlington and they told me I needed his DD 214 to bury him at the cemetery.” Mr. Scroggin recalled. “I had never heard of a DD 214, but they told me if I could not find it, they would put him in cold storage for six months while they found it.”
After a frantic search, “I found Dad’s DD 214 as a bookmark in a book,” he said. The Arlington burial took place. The lesson: Add military discharge papers to the documents you hand over to family members or trusted friends.