Are You Ready to Pick Up the Pieces?

A quiz to test your knowledge about a loved one’s life

A friend passed away recently after a terminal illness, several months earlier than expected. I’m the executor of her will and a close friend, so in the weeks surrounding her death, I found myself responsible for a thousand tasks related to her medical care and financial and household affairs. I had known this woman for 30 years, so I was astonished by the amount of information that I needed to know, but didn’t. The hospice social worker, the attorney preparing her will, the funeral director…everyone seemed to need endless details about her family and her life.

If you suddenly found yourself in charge of the affairs of a loved one in an emergency—an injury, a serious illness, death, or any other unforeseen situation—how ready would you be to take on the responsibility? Take our quiz to find out!

In an emergency, would your loved ones’ affairs be in good hands?

Jagged halves of a broken heart in caring hands

Instructions: Think about someone you might be called upon to support in a crisis: your spouse, your significant other, your best friend, your business partner—and consider how many of the following questions you’d be able to answer. Give yourself one point for each question to which you know all or part of the answer.

  1. What are the names of siblings or other family members? Where can you find contact information?
  2. What are the parents’ names?
  3. What is the mother’s maiden name?
  4. Date of birth, including the year? Place of birth?
  5. Driver’s license number?
  6. Social security number?
  7. Location of a set of keys to the house and the car(s)?
  8. Name of primary care physician?
  9. Any allergies to food or medication?
  10. Is there a will or power of attorney?
  11. Who is the lawyer?
  12. Who is the executor of the will?
  13. Is there a living will, medical power of attorney, or guardianship document?
  14. Are there any prepaid funeral or cemetery arrangements?
  15. Wishes regarding burial versus cremation?
  16. Does he or she own any real estate?
  17. What is the combination to the safe, or do you know where to find it?
  18. What credit cards and bank accounts are there? Is there a safety deposit box?
  19. What is the ATM password?
  20. Are there any retirement accounts?
  21. Are there any other assets available to cover final expenses?
  22. What are the usernames and passwords for online banking, billing, and social-media accounts?
  23. What are the pets’ names?
  24. Who is the vet? What arrangements have been made for the pets?
  25. If he or she was in the military, where is the DD214 (military discharge) form?

If you scored…

21 to 25 points: You’re ready for anything! Your loved one is in good hands.
16 to 20 points: Not bad, but pick up the phone and get to know one another better.
11 to 15 points: You need to do some homework to fill potentially serious gaps in your knowledge.
6 to 10 points: Either your friend is a master spy, or you’re dangerously lacking in curiosity.
1 to 5 points: Are you sure you’re ready to be responsible for someone you know only from Facebook?

But seriously…use this quiz as the starting point for a heart-to-heart conversation, and when an emergency strikes, you’ll be ready to step up. And do your loved ones a favor—make sure they know where to find all the critical information about you! 


This article was featured in our October 2013 e‑mail newsletter. To subscribe to our newsletter, please use the subscription form.



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