Do This, Do It For Your Loved Ones

Do you care about what happens after you have left this life…you’re never to young to make sure that all of your affairs are in order.

11zack9In my family recently, my 29 year old nephew unexpectedly and suddenly passed away (but death can and will occur at ANY age). And as devastating as it was to lose him, there were so many other things we had to deal with that was made much more difficult simply because we had no way of knowing anything about his private accounts and other items that survivors would need in the case of an unexpected death.

I am hoping by sharing some of these things, that Zack’s death will help you should anyone else ever have to go through something as sad as this.

Smartphone Code Unlock

This is ONE of the most important pieces of information you as a survivor can have. Without an unlock code, there is a very good chance that you’ll never get access to the information on their phone. Information like insurance accounts, bank accounts, emergency alerts, important dates, health information, work information…just a huge amount of information that many of us keep on our smartphones these days. The really neat thing is that since most people keep their smartphone with them at all times…their privacy is pretty well protected unless there is an emergency.

Their Best Friend

Make sure the person has given YOUR contact information to their BEST and TRUSTED FRIEND.

Important Keys

Have a spare house or apartment key. Without it you may have to have police enter the residence or apartment. In the case of an apartment, they may not give you access without first contacting corporate or the owner of the complex. This can be a costly delay when you need to get into their living space.


If the person has a central location or specific location of documents/instructions, then this should be shared with their parent(s), relative or trusted friend.

Bank Accounts

Ideally, a list of banks used and bank account numbers is needed. In addition, it’s a good idea for the person to have their parent(s) also on the account so that money transfer or money needed is done seamlessly.

Email Password/Passwords

It’s very important to have access to the person’s email in case of emergency and could provide an easier way to contact loved ones or employers. It’s also a good idea for them to have a list of their pertinent passwords they think you might need to use. Reiterate to your loved one this is not spying, but necessary in the case of an accident or death. RESPECT THEIR PRIVACY and only use this information in the event it is needed.


Facebook has several options for people who have accounts and become deceased. Here are 4 options I can recommend.

  • A legacy contact can be named and this person will have the ability to do several things with the account without ever actually logging into your account. They can approve additional friends (if so desired), and change your profile picture, pin a post on your timeline, but they can not post as your identity.
  • You can choose to have the account memorialized.  Basically the account is static, but depending on the privacy settings of the account, friends can share memories on the memorialized timeline. Content the person shared (example: photos, posts) stays on Facebook and is visible to the audience it was shared with. Memorialized profiles don’t appear in public spaces such as in suggestions for People You May Know, ads or birthday reminders.
  • An account can be deleted upon death. But someone will need to contact Facebook in regards to that and they will have to verify some information as valid before account deletion occurs.
  • And finally, If you want your survivor designate to have complete control over your Facebook Account, then you’ll need to share your email and passwords with them. Set up a legacy contact on Facebook…it’s imperative you do this otherwise no one will be able to control the account.

As a side note, I emailed Facebook about a week ago to include a section in the legacy settings area for an area where NOTES can be kept that might give specific instructions, codes, passwords and other valuable information that can only been seen by the legacy designate. I have yet to hear back from them though.

Friends Contact

Make them share their closest friends. You’ll need their location, phone number, email address…and it wouldn’t hurt to be friends with them on Facebook. Reiterate to your loved one this is not spying, but necessary in the case of an accident or death. RESPECT THEIR PRIVACY and only use this information in the event it is needed.

Additional Instructions

The person should also have put some thought into the “what if” situation and how to follow any and all instructions they have outlined. They should also list any other designates they want to carry out these instructions. NOTE: I’m not recommending that these things replace a will. They do not, these are wishes and information to used by a TRUSTED survivor and will in no way replace a will. A will is always recommended for the legal aspects of ones death.

A Lawyer is Always Best

All of the above suggestions are done without the help of a lawyer, however it’s not that I don’t recommend that someone not have a will, but the truth is that many won’t go to the trouble of consulting with a lawyer. I still recommend that people use a lawyer for legal instructions which also give more of a certainty that wishes will be carried out as specified in a will.

In Conclusion

The example I started out with was because of my nephew Zack Jarratt, but precautions like these are for anyone at any age for any relationship. To take care of these things does not require you be only 20 years old, or 30 years old, or 70 years old…it’s for EVERY ONE. None of the aforementioned suggestions require a lawyer (not even a will…although I highly recommend one), but these are SIMPLE and easy things to do to ensure in the event something terrible should happen, your family and friends will be prepared to either HELP you or help themselves in an emergency. Do it, Do it now, and Do it for your loved ones.

WHO is your iPhone and Facebook designate?

CHALLENGE  Zack Jarratt’s friends to take these steps. Feel free to share this with your sons and daughters, your fathers and mothers, your nephews and nieces, your grandkids and anyone else you care about. I know I have made some changes in my own life.

2 thoughts on “Do This, Do It For Your Loved Ones

  1. Good information Wally, I learned about this stuff at the age of 7 when my father was killed in a farming accident. I learned to put Randy or Jeannie instead of Randy and Jeannie…I learned to have an in case of death designee on every account, I learned to always order more death certificates than you think you will need and I learned to have a will and best option pre-plan and pre-Pay your final arrangements. We will all absolutely need them, make them young and then don’t worry about it. As times have changed I’ve added things like a pass word notebook that is current and a ledger containing bank accounts and insurance policy information. Your loved ones can’t apply for insurance benefits if they are not aware you have them.


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