New Templates and Script

My art teacher from high school said “There is always room for improvement,” one of my favorite quotes. We have updated our form letters and telephone script and uploaded them to the site.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

14 Questions to Ask Creditors When Changing or Closing Accounts

Another blog worth repeating since someone asked me about this recently. Here is the document found in the back pocket of the book if you would like to print it. It is in our downloads tab on this website.

When I contacted the Social Security Administration to notify them of my mom’s death, I picked up the phone, dialed the number and was all ready to professionally notify them of my mother’s death and ask them what I needed to do. When someone answered, I unexpectedly started sobbing and yelped ‘my mom died!’ The woman replied in a kind southern accent, ‘oh honey, I’m sorry.’ What a wonderful response we all deserve! Hint, the funeral home usually manages this task, ask your funeral director.

Although later I thought ‘that is no way to report a death and to handle such a task’ and proceeded to create a script for myself so that it would be – not easier – less difficult going forward.

Here are examples of questions to ask that are on free downloadable forms on our website.

When you call, the goal should be to talk to someone kind and helpful. If a customer service person is neither, ask to speak to someone else, or simply hang up and try again later to find a different person. There is no reason you should have to go through more agony by talking to someone who is unkind while you are grieving and trying to handle these unfun tasks.

  1. Hello, I need to report a death, can you help me? (if not, keep trying until you find someone who can – you may need to call back later and if someone is unkind, hang up and try again later to find someone compassionate)
  2. May I get your name and will you spell it for me? (write it down and repeat it back to them)
  3. What do you need from me? (write down what they need, copy of death certificate? original death certificate?)
  4. What is the easiest way to manage this?
  5. Where and how should I send this information? (write it down and repeat it to them to confirm you have the correct info)
  6. May I send it to your attention?
  7. Is this something I can do online?
  8. How will I know this is accurate and complete?
  9. What else do you need from me? (ask this question several times, people sometimes forget to tell you something, take your time; the last thing you want is to have to manage the whole process over again because they failed to tell you a step you needed to take)
  10. May I have your direct phone number or email if I have a question?
  11. May I check online to see if this is complete?
  12. What else do I need to do regarding this?
  13. When can I follow up to make sure this is complete?
  14. How can I verify this change is reflected in your records?

Keeping notes is legally prudent. It is easy to forget when you have so much to do and are also grieving. After looking at notes years after my mom’s death, I remembered NONE of the conversations.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Begin Here now available in four gift shops in Southern California

Helping Survivors Manage is proud to announce the book is now available in four gift shops in Southern California.

The new resellers are Bell Cottage in Burbank, Diana Dee’s Stationary and Fine Gift Shop in San Marino, Kaiser Permanente Gift Shop in Panorama City, and Nelson’s Drug Store in Glendora. The links are listed in the where to buy tab under California on our site.

We are excited to get the book and tools into as many survivors’ hands as possible!


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Survivor Considerations

When my mom died, my dad had more than the typical challenges of a survivor – my dad was predominantly deaf and my mom was his ears. Because he had profound hearing loss, he did not feel completely comfortable being independent. Here were a few things we had to consider for dad to accommodate his challenges:

  • Making sure the fire alarms are adequate, do we need lighted alarms?
  • Is a security system necessary since he would not hear an intruder?
  • What was the best option for the doorbell?
  • What type of alarm clock would work best for him?
  • How and where to get a TTY phone and figuring out which type was best for him (and acceptable to the provider; products and services vary by state)

And for each of these considerations, there are collectively thousands of choices.

These are the most important things that seemed urgent and imperative for dad’s safety, but there are many more to consider. Do you have more suggestion and/or ideas?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


It was a delight to be interviewed by ELIZAGALEINTERVIEWS. She asked great questions, here it is!

Unfortunately, I made two editing errors, and am unable to change, but here they are:

Edits from the interviewee: ‘place where a decedent will find it.’ should be ‘place where a survivor will find it.’ and ‘will leave enough money for my decedent/executor to pay’ should be ‘will leave enough money for my survivor/executor to pay’. Apologies to the interviewer and the audience. -Kat Reed


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment