5 Documents To Prepare Before Your Death

By: Jared Curry
Monday, August 6, 2018

Westfield, NJ funeral home and cremation

While it may be difficult to accept that you’ll due one day, death in an inevitable part of life. One way to make death a little less scary is to make sure you’re as prepared as possible. From making Westfield, NJ funeral home and cremation preparations, to gathering and preparing important documents, preparation is key.  

There are 5 main documents you should prepare for the eventuality of your death: healthcare power of attorney, will, HIPPAA release, and an ICE book.  

Healthcare Power of Attorney 

A healthcare power of attorney (POA) document appoints someone to make your medical decisions for you if you’re ever unable. A POA is important for a variety of situation, from terminal illnesses and loss of brain function to temporary unconsciousness.  

Choose someone you trust for your POA, and be sure to have all involved parties sign the document to make it valid. Some states also require a POA to be notarized with additional witnesses.  


Your will is a document that states who will receive your assets and belongings once our pass. You should always consult an attorney when writing your will to make sure it meets important criteria. You should also make sure your will:  

  • Clearly identifies itself as your personal will, and should include your name, date of birth, and social security number.  
  • Lists an executor to make sure it’s carried out to your specifications.  
  • Clearly lists and identifies the heirs  
  • Lists all your assets, from bank accounts to estates, and which air received what percentage of each asset.  
  • Is signed by you and two or three witnesses 

You can also draw up a living will in the event you’re incapacitated in some way. Different than a POA or will, a living will lets you lay out your end of life wishes in the event you become terminally ill.  

HIPAA Release 

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) stipulates that all medical records are confidential. So, if you want a family member to have access to your records in case you pass away or become incapacitated, you need to fill out and sign a HIPPAA Release form.  

ICE Book of Important Documents 

While an in case of emergency (ICE) book isn’t a formal document, it’s a major help for families to gain access to important documents when a loved one passes away or is incapacitated. Include the following documents in your ICE book:  

  • Tax returns going back 5 years  
  • Bank accounts 
  • Medical and dental records 
  • Insurance information 
  • Birth certificate 
  • Social security card 
  • Important passwords  

Plinton Curry Funeral Home  

If you need more assistance preparing documents, or want more information about funeral home and cremations in Westfield, NJ, Plinton Curry Funeral Home can help. Located at 411 W Broad St Westfield, NJ 07090, Plinton Curry Funeral Home offers convenient and compassionate services to help prepare you and your loved ones for a death, or to guide you through a recent loss. Call us today at (908) 232-6869 to learn more.  

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