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I’m Dead, Now What?

I stole this title from a notebook I saw being sold called “F*ck! I’m Dead! Now What?“. There are many similar journals, but I am not espousing spending money on that. All it will take is a simple blank notebook. I am reading a book, “The Bullet Notebook Method“, which is helpful, if a bit too philosophical for my tastes. An “I’m Dead” journal is something to help your family deal with it.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

I’m Dead

So you find yourself dead, what do you do? Nothing, you are dead, remember? I hope there is an afterlife, but you can’t be wasting valuable undead time attempting to revise your estate. With this comical title, I hope to jolt your corporeal self (i.e., living) to do something about it before your demise.

What kind of things should you have written down?

Your Will

Your Will and Power of Attorney should have been the first thing you did once you became an Adult. If you had a Power of Attorney, your demise may not have been so painful. As the Blunt Bean Counter pointed out, get agreement from whoever you appoint as Executor or Liquidator that they are OK doing it. I was surprised to find out I was the Liquidator for my Brother’s Estate. My parents set it up and did not tell me. Hopefully, this mentions lawyers or notaries who might also need to settle the estate. Without a Will, your estate goes into Probate, which means a 1-2 year delay. Probate means many lawyers get paid too.

Do this first! In Ontario, you have a POA for both money and health if you wish.

Do you have a property in another province, like Quebec? Better look into how that might work. Living in Ottawa, you hear of horror stories about folks who own a cottage in Quebec, and the mess their estate ended up.

Everything Else

Your will is most likely reasonably generic. It can have specific instructions about giving to charities and what percentage of the estate goes where, but don’t get lost in the weeds.

If you have pre-arranged your funeral with a reputable Funeral Home, they will take care of this work for your family. What is Everything Else?

A Death Certificate

Your executor/liquidator will need that first. In Quebec, it is called A Copy of the Act of Death. Without this, nothing happens with your estate. The funeral home or crematorium should apply for this or help you. In Quebec, this could take up to Six Months (it did in my brother’s case). Get this done first.

Banking Information

Put all your banking information somewhere safe, like a safety deposit box or a home safe. This would include:

  • A list of all the banks you have accounts with
  • All bank account numbers
  • ATM card passcodes and login information for online banking sites (possibly with the URLs to those sites).
  • All of your Credit Card info.
  • What bills are you paying automatically from your credit card or bank account?

Insurance Policy Information

If you have life insurance, who receives your payout? Is that information up to date? If you are divorced, you need to update this area. Can you make your Estate where the money goes? Disability insurance and any other insurance like that should be up to date too.

RESP, RRSP, TFSA, CPP and Pension Information

Who have you delegated as the folks to receive your survivor payments? If you have a pension, it is like Life Insurance. Ensure you have the correct name(s) in the Survivor Benefits. With the RRSP and TFSA, that can collapse into your estate, but having a beneficiary lined up might be helpful. If you have an RESP, that might also be interesting to clean up.


Given this is a favorite topic, make sure this is mentioned in your will and/or instructions to your Executor. The Grant and Bond money will go back to the Government, but the money put in and growth should go to your estate.

I will write a specific version of this article for Parents of Disabled Children. Remember, your dependent may need more than a Power of Attorney.

Smail Mail

Your executor may want to redirect your Royal Canadian Mail to their home address for a while. It costs money, but you’d be surprised what you find is still being mailed to folks.

Social Networking Passwords

If you are active on Social Networking, if you want someone to “delete your Google search log”, they will need your user IDs and passwords. This information should be in that safe “safe place” outlined above. There are a lot of these IDs, some ideas:

  • Your Google login for Gmail, Google Drive, and Photos, there is a lot of stuff in there. You can set up a userid that may access your account.
  • Flickr or other photo-sharing sites must be backed up, or those photos disappear.
  • All of your passwords for Banking, Insurance, the CRA, and other sites should be somewhere safe, not in a password-catcher.

Utilities and House or Rental Information

There is a lot of stuff here.

  • Account numbers for: Water, Electricity, Cable, Internet, and other things like that.
    • Are these paid for using your credit Card or bank account?
  • Your Property Tax Roll (Role?) Number and how that is being paid

Other Personal Info

  • Driver’s License Number, come to think of it, your Car Insurance too.
  • Your social insurance number will be needed for many things, like your CRA account.
  • Your Medicare number will need to be cancelled.
  • Your Doctors’ (note the plural) name(s), and contact info. General Doctor, Specialists, Dentist, Audiologist, Optometrist, etc., etc.,
  • Your passport and where it is, would be good to be cancelled.
  • Employment information: Where did you work? For How Long? Identification numbers in case you have to deal with these companies.
    • Speaking of work, maybe make sure you leave a work contact to pass on to your co-workers you won’t be in on Monday.
  • Your phone numbers, get those.
  • Where are all those great photos stored? It would help if you told someone where to find them, or they’ll get thrown away with your laptop.

Your Wishes

Some interesting things you might want to have done, for fun, as a tribute or to annoy your relatives.

  • Do you wish to be Cremated or not? What do you want done with the ashes? Is there a family burial concept?
  • Write your own Obituary. You could have a lot of fun with that one.
  • Organ donation: what do you want done with your spare parts?
  • A list of people to contact who will either be sad or happy you are gone.
  • Maybe a final letter so you can freak out your loved ones from the dead? You could always make it like Festivus and air some grievances.
  • Don’t forget your pets. What will become of them? Maybe discuss with someone to take them in case of your demise?

Dead Long List

It is a bit long, but it doesn’t cover all that might need to be done for some folk.

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