KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany - When losing a loved one who was also a retiree, the loss can be even more painful if not prepared to handle the accounts and benefits left behind.

But the task can be manageable thanks to a thorough checklist made available by U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz Casualty Affairs and Retirement Service Offices in Baumholder and Kaiserslautern, and the 86th Airlift Wing Retiree Activities Office at Ramstein Air Base.

Luis de Andrade, director of the 86th RAO also hosts a quarterly workshop entitled "What a Surviving Spouse or Family Member Needs to Know" on Ramstein in the USAFE/AFRICOM Conference Center. "This workshop provides lots of good information on preparations with counselors available to discuss family needs or issues" de Andrade said.

"One of the most important parts of preparation is locating the necessary paperwork to file for benefits," said Finnie Richardson, garrison casualty affairs and retirement officer.

"Any retiree can greatly help his or her loved ones by completing this checklist," said Col. Jason Edwards, USAG RP commander. "That way, when the inevitable happens, your loved ones can move forward efficiently and effectively thanks to your detailed preparation. I consider this a readiness issue for our Army Family. Efforts need to be made to plan for all contingencies no matter what stage in life you are in."

The eight-page checklist covers everything from death notification procedures, information data sheets, pay and Social Security data, things to do with other benefits and a list of agencies that can help.

"The checklist is localized for this footprint, including contact information for offices at Ramstein, Kaiserslautern and Baumholder," Edwards added. "I highly encourage all to complete this information for the benefit of our families."

For more information on the checklist, contact Richardson at finnie.l.richardson.civ@mail.mil, or call DSN 541-1021; Daniel Washington (Baumholder) at daniel.j.washington13.civ@mail.mil, DSN 531-2428, or de Andrade (Ramstein) at luis.deandrade@us.af.mil, DSN 480-5486.