Transition Planning

Dr. Linda Hancock


Dr. Hancock has written a regular weekly column entitled “All Psyched Up” for newspapers in two Canadian provinces for more than a dozen years. Over the years, her readers and clients have said that they have benefited from her common-sense solutions, wisdom, and sense of humour. Dr. Linda Hancock, the author of “Life is An Adventure…every step of the way” and “Open for Business Success” is a Registered Psychologist who has a private practice in Medicine Hat. She can be reached at 403-529-6877 or through email


September 30 2022

All Psyched Up. | | Transition Planning | by Dr. Linda Hancock | Published September 30 2022 | Revised November 22 2022

© 2022, Dr. Linda Hancock INC.

On Saturday, my daughter and I attended a Wills and Estate planning seminar.  She was shocked into awareness of all the preparation she would need to do in order to make it easier on her sons when she passes.

Today, I have been working for hours to ensure that my affairs are all documented properly and frankly, it has been an interesting adventure that even included laughter.  Perhaps you could use my experience to set up your own plan:

  • Start with a binder where you can store all the information that your family and friends can use to fulfill your wishes. Once you have it compiled, give copies to those who will be involved in arranging and settled things.
  • Gather and include all business cards for contacts who will be working on your estate and funeral/memorial/interment (lawyer, accountant, funeral home, minister, cemetery contact, financial planner).
  • Insert information about registration and details for organ/body donation. Even though you can have this desire added to your driver’s license, it is also important to register with the organization involved and tell your family members in advance as timelines are important.
  • Put a copy of your updated legal papers in the binder. This will include three separate documents: “Last Will and Testament”, “Personal Directive” and “Enduring Power of Attorney”.  (I learned many reasons why it is best to have ONE primary executor/decision maker only).  If you don’t have a Will, did you know that the government can make decisions about your affairs?   It is also important to put a copy of your “Personal Directive” in the green sleeve that you have on top of your fridge in case you need to be transported to hospital.
  • Add any attachments to the Will that state specific wishes for how personal items are to be distributed (artwork, jewelry, heirlooms, golfclubs etc. not listed in the will).
  • Include a Guidance Form that specifies what type of remembrance you would like (memorial service, funeral, celebration).
  • Document specifics regarding how you want your body to be handled (cremation, burial) and where you would like to rest (with family, in a cemetery, in a family plot, niche and with or without a plaque/stone).
  • If you have joined a non-profit organization such as the Calgary Memorial Society, add your membership card and completed forms so that you will benefit from discounted pricing and fulfilled wishes.
  • Include a draft of your obituary which can be edited if necessary. (This is a great stress reliever for family who might not have all the details required or wording you might prefer).
  • List the organizations, friends and newspapers that you would like to have notified of your passing (that is why it is easier to have the obituary ready for distribution as it can be sent quickly through email).
  • Print and add a copy of the Executor Checklist for Canada. (Once you go through it, you will know what other information that would be helpful to include)
  • Get pricing and prepay anything you can to avoid inflation!
  • Write out any special requests that you might have regarding flowers, donations, or gifts for mourners and others to comfort them during their grieving.
  • Communicate now! Don’t expect anyone to read you mind or agree on what you might prefer.  The more conversations and written documentation that you have prepared – the more prepared your loved ones will be (and the fewer disagreements)!

I have been thinking about how much time people invest in their careers, planning their weddings and even moving.  Don’t you think that planning your transition deserves just as much attention and time?

I forgot to tell you about the laughter.  I wrote to the concierge at my condo to ask about the price for booking our theatre for my memorial service when the time comes.  The reply stated the price and invited me to just call or stop by to make the booking!

All Psyched Up. | The Seventeenth Year | Transition Planning | by Dr. Linda Hancock | Published September 30 2022 | Revised November 22 2022

© 2022, Dr. Linda Hancock INC.