We know how difficult it can be when it gets closer to the time to say goodbye to loved ones. To make life just a little easier, we’ve compiled helpful resources you may need in the days, weeks, months or years ahead. From how to have difficult conversations about loss to practical health questions, you’ll find links below to people, places, and organizations that can help.
Below you’ll find resources for:
If it’s too early, we recommend that you bookmark the page or download a copy of the checklist for later.
Joseph A Lucchese has worked with grieving families in the Bronx for years and knows that planning is not easy, but necessary.
Having Difficult Conversations & Emotional Support Resources
Spending time with those you love is the greatest joy in life. Even the most difficult conversations can bring joy. You can take time to remember the good times, while also planning ahead. Even though it can feel overwhelming, having these conversations towards the end of life is important and necessary.
There are many resources that can help you start with difficult conversations. We recommend keeping these three main pillars in mind:
- Show Respect & Engage Completely
- Take the Time You Need
- Put a Plan into Writing
Remember that you don’t need to do this alone. Below you’ll find a list of online resources and organizations that can help.
- Mindfulness & Grief Institute - Guide to Coping with Grief & Loss
- Grief Net - Online Community of Support
- Caring Kind NYC - Support for Alzheimer's Caregiving
- Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) - Families Grieving the Loss of a Military Loved One
- Guide on Speaking to Children About Grief & Loss
- Guide to Dealing with Grief During the Holidays
Important Health Care Decisions
Aging is a part of life and with it comes complex health problems. Making decisions about your health, your spouse's health, or a parent’s health can seem overwhelming. These are decisions that only you and your loved ones can make, but there are resources available to make this easier.
While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, we do recommend a simple process of:
- Speaking with Professionals
- Seeking Advice from Family & Friends
- Taking Your Time When Making Final Decisions
Below you’ll find links to resources that help with specific questions about end-of-life health needs that we’ve found helpful:
- Advance Care Planning (Alzheimer's) - New York State Department of Health
- Advanced Directives - Making Your Wishes Known - New York State Office of the Attorney General
Choosing a Healthcare Proxy
- New York State Guidance - Choosing Your Health Care Agent
- New York Department of Health - Health Care Proxy Form
Organ/Tissue Donor Designation
- Donate Life New York State - Frequently Asked Questions
- Department of Motor Vehicles - Register to Become an Organ, Eye or Tissue Donor
HIPAA waiver of authorization
- NY Courts Forms - Authorization for Release of Health Information Pursuant to HIPAA
- New York State OMH - HIPAA Privacy Rules for the Protection of Health and Mental Health Information
General Health Resources:
Organizing Legal Documents
Whether you’re making plans for yourself or a loved one, you’ll want to ensure that you have all the necessary documentation easily available. This includes personal records, financial records, wills & trusts, and other documents. Making the necessary plans and arrangements in advance can help prevent future problems for those you love.
A great start is to gathering simple details like:
- Social Security Numbers,
- Employers & Dates of Employment,
- Education & Military Records,
- Financial Documentation,
- Life Insurance Policies,
- Medications, Etc.
You can find a full list of items in the resources below. Remember, you don’t have to do this all alone. In addition to the resources listed below, there are professionals that can help. Ask a healthcare provider, financial advisor, or loved one for assistance.
- NY Department of Taxation and Finance - Estate Tax Information
- NYS Funeral Directors Association - Personal and Financial Affairs Checklist for End-of-Life Planning
Wills & Trusts
Power of Attorney
- New York City Bar - Guidance on Power of Attorney
- Internet Legal Research Group (ILRG) - Power of Attorney Frequently Asked Questions, State of New York
Domestic Partnership Agreement
Estate Planning Support
Funeral Arrangments & Pre-Planning
Talking through funeral plans and pre-planning the service can be a positive experience. It can be a way to connect with loved ones and talk through what is most important. The process of planning or pre-planning a funeral is not something you need to do alone. There are professional resources to help you with the process.
We recommend you start by:
- Talking about the goals of your service.
- Speaking with experienced funeral directors.
- Seeking advice from loved ones.
Below you’ll find resources that families have found helpful during this process.