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How to write a death letter: write a letter to loved ones in case you die

The subject of writing a letter in case you die is a touchy one. How you choose to approach death preparation is a personal choice, but one I’d like to talk about is the death card.

The term death letter is attributed to writing a letter that contains all the important information your family would need if you were to pass away tomorrow. Personally, I think there are two ways to look at this topic that can hopefully make it seem less daunting or morbid.

One way is to be completely logical and approach it administratively: write a letter and include all the details that aren’t normally 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 they can find it.

You may also choose to view the letter as a personal journey of sorts, considering ways to comfort your loved ones and also provide them with important information. It can be hard to think about this in emotional terms: what meaningful things to say to your loved ones, writing down details for your personal story, and then having to jot down information your family may need to take care of things.

I tend to see it as a combination of both forms. For a long time I was a single mother and it really weighed heavily on my mind that I needed to know that my children could see what I was writing to them, hear the words I had written in their minds, and find some security in my love for. But I also saw it as something that was necessary.

The other consideration when thinking about this type of planning is that many families have interesting stories that can be passed down to other generations. In my own family my grandparents loved each other despite their families wishes, this story struck a chord within me. Knowing their story fostered a stronger connection with them even though they are no longer with me.

My ancestors in Scotland had their own clan of tartans and very interesting stories too. I want my children to feel that sense of connection to their story that I felt. It’s exciting to know where you come from and what your family heritage is.

If you are considering addressing this topic, here is some information you may choose to include:

  1. SSN, location of important documents, estate plan
  2. Contact numbers and names
  3. Location if any of bank accounts, safe deposit boxes
  4. Email account passwords
  5. Newspaper clippings, documents, letters from your family estate
  6. Location of contact information regarding online accounts/friends

Regardless of what you consider, I’m sure your family will find comfort in the details you provide.

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