CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - When Barbara Needham got the phone call, no one knew it was serious.
"My sister, who lived in Durham, called me, and she said I'm not feeling well," Needham says. "So I immediately went up there."
It wasn't long after that they got the devastating news.
"They diagnosed her with brain cancer, lung cancer, bone cancer and they said you've got two to four months to live," she says.
But Needham's sister slipped away even sooner than that. There was no time to discuss the details of dying.
"She had two sons, and a granddaughter and everyone was rushing around trying to find documents and what to do, and they were arguing, and there was so much contention," she recalls.
Needham and her husband, Curt, vowed it wouldn't happen to them again. Curt is a retired pilot.
"Pilots, as everyone knows, live and breathe by checklists," says Curt.
And that's what gave them the idea to compile a book of clear lists and charts they're calling "Charting a Course for my Loved Ones."
"This book picks up where the last will and testament leaves off," Curt says.
And it can act as your final gift to your loved ones.
"Somebody has to take care of your end of life, and the work involved in all that," says Barbara.
Passwords, web site logins, the location of security deposit box keys and insurance policies...it's all covered in there, and more.
One thing people don't think about is their pets," adds Barbara. "Who gets them, who has their instructions…"
"And there's also a list of who to notify," Curt adds. "Because most of us with blended families have relatives all over the country.