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Education & Advocacy

The Art of Death: Preparing the Way for Those We Leave Behind

Saturday, February 24, 2024Saturday, March 23, 2024

Since death comes to us all, “like a thief in the night,” and we know not when, having a plan for those that will pick up the pieces after you are gone is one of the kindest things you can leave behind for them. St Dunstan's Episcopal Church in Shoreline is hosting a five-part series called "The Art of Death: Preparing the Way for Those We Leave Behind."

This series of five sessions will focus on various aspects of planning for death: the stuff, the numbers, the law, the body, and the service. Each session will run from 10am to noon and be a combination of practical information, an opportunity to ask your questions, and time to begin to write down your plans and start your own death binder.

*Session 1: The Stuff. February 24, 2024. Presenter: Rachel Corwin
Dealing with the stuff: moving, downsizing and decluttering. While this deals with the actual stuff in your home, there is also emotional baggage regarding hanging on to the stuff. We will talk about the practicalities, as well as the emotional side of getting rid of things. We will have a resource list of who will take your unwanted items from Goodwill to Mary's Place and any other places we can find.

*Session 2. The Numbers. March 2, 2024. Presenter: Tina Polf, CPA
We will start building a death binder where you can collect all the information that those you leave behind will need to know. We will cover the financial information, names and contact information of the professionals you deal with, passwords and logins for your digital assets and banking information. We will also talk about the personal information that you want to document, such as a family tree, dates of births, deaths and anniversaries. We will start with a preliminary obituary by considering how you want to be remembered.

*Session 3. The Law. March 9, 2024. Presenter: Ceth D. Hickey, Hickman Menashe P.S.
There are legal issues for you to consider both before you die and what happens to your assets after you die. We will cover titling assets, living trusts, powers-of-attorney, and planned charitable giving. We will also cover choosing an executor and what to put in your will. We will talk about beneficiaries of retirement plans, annuities, and life insurance policies, as well as who is subject to Washington state estate taxes. If there is time, we might also cover special needs trusts and Medicaid planning.

*Session 4. The Body. March 16, 2024. Presenters: Sarah Roskam, M.D. and MaryJo Briggs, R.N.
All things the body. This will cover the things you should do before you die with respect to how you want to be treated before death including the health care power-of-attorney, advanced directives, and physician’s orders for life sustaining treatment (POLST). We will have the forms available to review and fill out. We will also talk about what you want to happen with your body after death - burial, cremation and ashes, donating body to science and maybe more.

*Session 5. The Service. March 23, 2024. Presenter: The Rev. Carola von Wrangel
We will talk about planning a celebration of life, funeral or memorial service, including when and where to schedule, who participates, what music and who speaks. There will be time to review possible Bible readings and songs and write down your wishes.

Persons of any age are encouraged to make these plans. This will be particularly useful for those that are considering moving or downsizing, those needing to put their affairs in order, those that have a complicated life, those that need to update their plans, those that don’t have plans, and anyone who might die (which means anyone!) There is a $25 materials fee to register for any or all of these sessions. To save your spot, visit St Dunstan's website: