We have all listened to these ageless words spoken in honor of departed Brethren. The question I am asking is:
When it is you these words are spoken over, have you made the preparations necessary to satisfy the laws of the land and to ease the burden of your passing on your family?
It is something we should all consider in a timely manner and especially while we are of sound mind and body and can make proper decisions regarding our possessions and last wishes.
Approaching this task from the standpoint of membership in the Fraternity, we must deal with the long-standing tradition not to discuss, in detail, the business and customs of the Fraternity with family members. Therefore, many widows and children have no idea who in the Lodge needs to be notified of our passing. Let us make a few suggestions that will ease the burden on your family and, at the same time, ease the burden on the Lodge Secretary and the Master.
Include with your important papers, envelopes addressed to the Lodge Secretary and the secretaries of all the appendant bodies in which you have membership. Put a sheet of paper in each envelope with your Masonic history (if you have been a member of more than one Lodge, be sure your list reflects the correct names and locations of all Lodges in which you have held membership in case you have transferred your membership) and a place for your survivor to write the date of your passing and such other information that might be of interest to the Lodge and/or appendant bodies. Attach to the envelopes a sheet of paper with detailed instructions that explain to your next of kin the importance of notifying each Masonic body of your passing. If you are uncertain what the correct address is, look at the return address on your latest dues notice. Also, include with these important papers a sheet of paper with instructions on whom to contact to request a Masonic funeral service. The Master of your Lodge is always an appropriate person to contact when requesting a service. If he is unavailable, contact your Lodge Secretary.
It would be a good idea to write a draft of your obituary so that those things that were important to you, in your life, will be known to others. It also insures your Masonic memberships, titles, and honors are spelled accurately. Include the full name of each body as well as the complete title of each office you have held. Be sure to also include specific instructions on the disposal of your Masonic ritual books, pins, aprons, and related items.