Death prepping, if you haven’t heard of it before, is the practise of compiling extensive and detailed lists for all of your possessions, giving exact descriptions, quantities, item types and in some cases even individual codes in preparation of your death. There are many parallels that you can draw from this to that of Swedish Death Cleaning or Döstädning where individuals condense their possessions and organise their estate so as not to overburden their families and loved ones upon their death. Death prepping, however, seems to be a more extreme version of this Swedish practise. The creator of this movement, Nick Copeman, also named Nick Deth, did declare in 2003 his caravans at Beeston Bump an empire and crowned himself king of it, changing his name by deed poll to King Nicholas I. Having moved on from this he has now generated a website to help you follow in his footsteps with an easy three step guide on how to be a Death prepper. But what do these steps entail?
The first stage is to Declare Your ‘Deth’. This means removing yourself from your previous way of living and getting a new perspective on how to manage your life, and in turn your death. Whilst the process that Mr Copeman has created to do this is a little extreme, creating a ‘Deth’ Certificate for yourself and naming yourself as executor, the thought process is sound in some regard. Giving yourself distance from your possessions and life does allow you to make objective and sometimes difficult decisions. From here we move on to the second stage.
After signing your own ‘Deth’ certificate, you are then responsible for processing your living estate in preparation for your death. This step is known as R.I.P. – Reduce, Itemise and Prepare. This includes the compilation of all of your assets, reducing your possessions, itemising them and specifying who will get what upon your death. Whilst at first seemingly a helpful and simple process, from there Mr Copeman’s instructions take a slightly alternative view. All of the items you have kept following on from your declutter must then be kept in the boxes as noted in the itemised list. These items as no longer your own, but your deceased self’s possessions and essentially must be kept in the boxes as stated. This then leads on to the final step, which we would argue is the most important.
The final stage is Your Will. This is where the Death Prepping process overlaps with those that we recommend as solicitors. Whilst his descriptions of both solicitors and the process of creating a Will are punctuated with colourful language, his overall statements are sound. That creating a valid and up to date Will removes the risk of your estate being divided in a manner you did not wish and hopefully prevents any contention or difficulty for your remaining relatives. Furthermore, Nick Copeman also recommends a Letter of Wishes. Again, whilst the structure and content of example Letter of Wishes, and indeed Will, are not what we would present to you, the ideas and reasoning behind it are concise and relevant. Providing your family and friends with a clear and considered summary of your wishes upon you death, detailing what happens to your personal items as well as arrangements for your funeral, can help provide ease and comfort for your loved ones when it comes time to make such decisions.
In conclusion, whilst we at Boyes Turner don’t believe you have to go to quite such extremes as those stated in stages 1 and 2, there are key features that we believe ring true to all. That of keeping an up to date Will and Letter of Wishes, a list of assets in a secure place as well as passwords and access to your online precedence. Going beyond this we would also encourage our clients to consider having a power of attorney in place so that the transition upon your death can hopefully be as seamless as possible, with those close to you already having an understanding of your assets so as best able to process probate for your estate.
Consistent with our policy when giving comment and advice on a non-specific basis, we cannot assume legal responsibility for the accuracy of any particular statement. In the case of specific problems we recommend that professional advice be sought.