Colonel Lee Lange, USMC retired

Colonel Lee Lange, USMC retired

It always helps to be prepared when it comes to our personal affairs. As many of us already know, a loved one’s passing is challenge enough. The best thing we can do is provide a survivor’s checklists of important information and actions to be taken on our passing. These should be kept in a safe place for the benefit and peace of mind of your survivors.

We are fortunate in that our MOAA memberships allow us access to world class benefits information from MOAA National, including an excellent set of publications that can give you step by step information on virtually any aspect of your military benefits. I recommend three MOAA publications for your use. First, Help Your Survivors – Now provides background narrative on the many military benefits available now and what happens to them if you pass away.  Next, obtain a copy of the Personal Affairs Guide which is essentially a detailed workbook of important information/documents should something happen to you. Help your spouse or next of kin by providing them a completed copy of this document and let them know where your copy and other important documents are safely kept. Use the completed workbook to fill out the third recommend publication, the Survivor’s Planning Guide. This is a step by step checklist to be used by your survivors to notify government agencies and other institutions of your passing.  You can download copies of these publications at by logging into the website. and clicking on MOAA Publications & Media. Or you can call the MOAA Member Service Center at (800) 234-6622 and request a hard copy be mailed to you.

I want to emphasize the importance of having the workbook and the checklist completed.  Janet and I went through ours  recently, and it is really a good feeling to touch the documents your survivors will need to finish your transition into whatever awaits you in eternity (I hope you have been good!).  Since we have completed our workbook, you cannot expect me to back off on you getting yours complete.

If you have questions, contact me either by email at: Personal Affairs Chair or by calling me at my number listed in the Contact Us page.


The National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) has provided the following website for veterans to gain access to their DD-214’s online:

Military veterans and the next of kin of deceased military members can use the online military personnel records system to request documents.  Other individuals with a need for documents must still complete the Standard Form 180, which can be downloaded from the online web site.


One of the more difficult and stressful things facing survivors on the loss of a loved one is the completion of the obituary.  I think one of the kindest things you could to for your spouse or family is to write your own obituary.  There are numerous examples in the daily paper of good and bad obituaries.  Take a look – and then write yours. That way you would also know what was said about you when you are gone.  Give it some thought.  I am sure your survivors would love you for doing it.

Adobe (PDF) download

The checklists are in Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF).  To read it, you need to have the Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your PC.  You may have it already installed, so first click the underlined document name.  It won’t open if you don?t have Adobe Acrobat.  But don’t worry, it’s easy, free and you only have to load it once.

To get your free copy, just click on this