Preparation for Incapacity or Death

Throughout the whole of life, one must continue to learn how to live, and what will amaze you even more, throughout life one must learn how to die. – Seneca

Friends seek to support one another in incapacity or death and dying as in any other aspect of life. By recording the information called for in the attached forms, each of us can help to lighten the responsibilities that will devolve upon our families, partners, friends and the Meeting when we are incapacitated or die. This consideration is not limited to those of greater age. Death does not always wait until we are old.

All of us have information about ourselves and our wishes that would be helpful for the Meeting to have on record when the time comes. This is especially true if our next of kin live elsewhere. The Care and Counsel committee has prepared this packet to help members and attenders consider what decisions they need to make and what their loved ones will need to know. The packet consists of 4 items:

  • Essential Information This form contains information that the Meeting and others close to you would need to know quickly in the event of your incapacity or death. We hope you will fill it out and return to Care and Counsel, who will store it in a locked box at the Meeting.
  • Planning Checklist This form is a self-assessment, intended to assist you in planning and setting priorities. This form is for your use only.
  • Personal Inventory This chart records details about important contacts, documents, and accounts. It should be updated periodically and shared with friends or family members who would need access to these items if you died or became disabled.
  • Introduction and Living Will The following introduction and living will document originated with the Kendall (Quaker) Retirement Community in the 1980's and was brought to our Meeting by Curt Torell. It should be used as an example or guideline and can be modified by each individual using it.

A folder of useful information regarding memorial societies, simple burial, cremation, donation of body or organs – and cautions about unnecessary expenses and other skullduggery that grieving families often encounter – has been placed in the Meeting library. The folder is labeled Useful Information Regarding Preparation for Death.

Friends’ memorial services are carried out with regard for our traditional testimony of simplicity. However, there is considerable room for individual choice. It is important that your own wishes be clearly recorded, both for your own peace of mind and as a help to those who will carry them out.

We are not accustomed to talking about death and dying even with those close to us, and sometimes find it awkward or even frightening. However, this process can offer an opportunity for open communication with those who care about you and will want to know your wishes. We hope that this sharing will offer greater understanding and closeness, and deepen your spiritual journey.

Contact a member of Care and Counsel with any questions or concerns. The email for the clerk of Care and Counsel is