You can help your family by sharing information now that they will need later. Many of us talk about our own death in terms such as “If I die…” The truth is, it’s a matter of when, not if.

There are countless stories of families who believed they had plenty of time and/or thought they had told loved ones everything, only to have survivors struggle to organize bank records, insurance policies, deeds, etc. This can happen at the time of death, or during a long illness that decreases your loved one’s ability to accurately recall financial details.

AARP offers tips to ease the burden of sorting through financial and other matters after a death. ( The most important step seems to be sharing information regarding where important documents are located, and the passwords for email, bank accounts, and credit cards. Your password list for your survivors needs to include secret questions and their answers (First school attended? Favorite car?).

Dallas County Health Navigation can assist families in connecting to legal and financial advisors who are experts at such matters. After a loss, Health Navigation can refer you to a bereavement support group. Call 515-993-3750 or email