Death Orders: Support Your Loved Ones

By January 19, 2024 No Comments
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In the event of a death, relatives have to deal with many organizational and administrative matters within a short period of time as well as make important decisions (see in more detail “An inheritance in the family – what to do?”). In the difficult mourning phase, this can quickly overwhelm even “robust” relatives. By issuing personal orders in the event of death, you can support your family and loved ones. In this way, you can already determine during your lifetime what should apply after your death. For example, who the bereaved should inform or invite to the funeral service, whether you want to be buried in the ground or cremated and how you imagine your funeral service. You can also keep track of where you keep important official documents or records such as ID cards, wills, inheritance contracts, insurance lists, and bank accounts. It is also very useful if you prepare information about your digital estate: you need a list of social media accounts, email accounts, digital assets (such as cryptocurrencies (How cryptocurrencies are not lost)) and passwords. Please also make a note of all contacts relevant to your estate.

You can also appoint a person of trust to take care of the implementation of the instructions in the event of death – it does not necessarily have to be the heirs, relatives or the executor.

Keep your death warrants safe and in an easily accessible place (not in a bank safe!). Because only what your relatives find, they can take into account. It is best to place your directives well labelled with your other advance care documents (such as wills, marriage and/or inheritance contracts, advance directives, living wills) so that they are immediately available. You can also pass on a copy of it to your trusted person. It is important that you do not include your instructions in the event of death in your will. This is only opened several weeks or even months after the death – i.e. after the funeral – which means that the orders are largely invalid.

There are no special formal requirements for orders in the event of death. However, written instructions with your signature and date make it easier for your relatives to fulfil your wishes. Also, make sure that your instructions are clear, feasible and reasonable. This is the only way your loved ones can give you the farewell you want. Their orders are binding on everyone within the legal and financial framework.

Remember to regularly review your orders in the event of death and, if necessary, adapt them to changing circumstances and needs. Simply add date and signature to the orders or destroy the old version and draw up new orders in the event of death.

Please do not confuse death orders with a living will. With the latter, you allow or exclude certain medical measures if you are incapable of making decisions due to illness or accident. In the living will, however, e.g. also wishes for the funeral etc. should be included. However, in order to avoid the risk of conflicting orders, we recommend that you specify such wishes only in the orders for death.

We have prepared a sample document for you, which is intended to serve as a guide for you to draw up orders in the event of death. Download the guide now: