Planning Ahead

 death for beginnners

*** Death for Beginners: Your No Nonsense Money-Saving Guide to Planning for the Inevitable by Karen Jones (2010) Humorous, insightful and relentlessly practical, Death for Beginners will give you the tools to quickly plan a funeral that will save you and your loved ones time, money, and unnecessary emotional stress.   [NHCPL]

The End of Life Adviser


*** The End of Life Adviser: Personal, Legal, and Medical Considerations for a Peaceful, Dignified Death by Susan R. Dolan, R.N., J.D., and Audrey R. Vizzard, R.N., Ed.D. (2013) Packed with wisdom, compassion, humor, and most of all hope, this handbook touches on every aspect of planning and preparing for excellent end of life care.

 Ethical Wills

Ethical Wills: Putting Your Values on Paper by Barry K. Baines (2006) An ethical will is a separate document that communicates personal values, beliefs, blessings, and advice to relatives and to future generations. It can be more meaningful to friends and family than any material possession you could bequeath to them.

 The Funeral is Just the Beginning

The Funeral is Just the Beginning by Amy Levine (2012) This one takes you farther than any of the other “planning books” with chapters on such practicalities as claiming life insurance, what to take to the lawyer, how to claim Veteran’s benefits and Social Security and even cleaning out a residence and relocating a pet.

 Grave Expectations

Grave Expectations by Sue Bailey and Carmen Flowers (2009) In this wry, humorous “workbook” the authors cover the myriad decisions one needs to consider in “pre-planning” their own final “appearance on life’s stage.”

If Something Should Happen How to Organize Your Financial and Legal Affairs


*** If Something Should Happen: How to Organize Your Financial and Legal Affairs by Marla Britt (2008) Available as a downloadable or paper copy from the American Institute for Economic Research.

 Jane Brody’s Guide to the Great Beyond

*** Jane Brody’s Guide to the Great Beyond: A Practical Primer to Help you and your Loved Ones Prepare Medically, Legally, and Emotionally for the End of Life by Jane Brody (2009)The author, a New York Times columnist, covers the scope of topics around end of life planning with compassion and humor. [NHCPL]

 Living Thoughtfully, Dying Well

Living Thoughtfully, Dying Well: A Doctor Tells How to Make Death a Natural Part of Life by Glen E. Miller (2014) A personal reflection on ways that thoughtful preparation for a good death can be part of a life well-lived and a gift of love to one’s family.

 patients checklistThe Patient’s Checklist: 10 Simple Hospital Checklists to Keep You Safe, Sane & Organized by Elizabeth Bailey (2011) From a trip to the emergency room to open heart surgery, all patients can experience not just perplexing and impersonal care but serious communication and safety issues that can put them at risk.

 Peaceful TransitionsPeaceful Transitions: Plan Now, Die Later – Ironclad Strategy by Stanley A. Terman, Ph.D., M.D. (2011) Terman writes with compassion, passion, clarity, and expertise. The stories of his patients are compelling and illustrative.

 Simply Essential Funeral Planning Kit

*** Simply Essential Funeral Planning Kit by Don S. Cochrane (2002) A great simple tool for planning your own funeral, understanding when to say no to unnecessary expenses, and how to document information so your family will know what you want.

Veterans’ Rights and Benefits


Veterans’ Rights and Benefits by Margaret C. Jasper (2009) Veterans and their families will find the chapter on “Burial Rights and Memorial Benefits” invaluable. [NHCPL]

 When Someone Dies

When Someone Dies: The Practical Guide to the Logistics of Death by Scott Taylor Smith (2013) From his experiences with the death of his mother, the author helps readers craft a framework for making good, informed, money-saving decisions in the chaotic thirty days after a loved one dies.

who gets grandmas yellow


Who Gets Grandma’s Yellow Pie Plate: A Guide to Passing on Personal Possessions (2011) Produced by the University of Minnesota Extension, this workbook deals with all those “small” issues including “Different Perceptions of What’s Fair,” and “Tips on Talking About Sensitive Issues.” Invaluable.


This bibliography was prepared by Rebecca Taylor, Funeral Consumers Alliance – Coastal Carolina. Notation of “NHCPL” means the New Hanover County Public Library.

Please check your local public library, or request titles by Inter library Loan. Virtually all titles are also available from online bookstores, like, often in “used” and other inexpensive editions.,

Questions or for more copies contact:
Rebecca Taylor, President
Funeral Consumers Alliance Coastal Carolina
P.O. Box 4262
Wilmington, NC 28406