Journalism and Mass Communications, College of


Date of this Version


Document Type



Becky Dewey-Daniel, 2017. A Checklist for Mortals: Preparing for Death’s Arrival, Professional Project, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Copyright (c) 2017 Becky Dewey-Daniel

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We learn everything from our parents—how to walk, talk and treat potential life partners. Yet our culture in the United States makes it difficult to talk to our parents about death and those consequences have a real impact. Closing a loved one’s estate can stretch from months to years without proper planning. While death is constant, the death industry is not. It is ever changing. And while all lives have equal value, there are many preparations that one person may need (veteran, parent, lotto winner) while another does not. The best way to prepare for death is to know its parameters—what are the most critical elements to know? What questions should you ask and who will have the answers?

In an effort to address these questions, A Checklist for Mortals: Preparing for Death’s Arrival is a book written and informed by focus groups, surveys and in-depth interviews. Knowing that attention spans are limited and scary ideas are less overwhelming with humor, the book is created as a self-help book in the style of children’s literature. The goal is to change the culture around death for Millennials so they can have a critical conversation with their parents early. This can save years of heartache and paperwork after parents pass away.

Death happens to everyone. But it doesn’t have to keep surprising us.