Remember the forgotten: Ensuring your family is covered when they pass away

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Last year, 9OYS talked to Leland Kimball, a senior who was preparing to spend his Christmas alone. Last week, he passed away the same way, dying alone at the age of 82 in his Greenville home.

Attorneys and senior advocates want Kimball’s story to serve as a reminder to always plan ahead.

“It’s a really good idea to think about these things in advance and consider who might be able to manage your needs and your wants when you pass away,” said Charlotte-Anne Alexander, attorney.

His body was donated to science and his belongings are unclaimed.

“It’s a little bit of a cold reality when you don’t have anybody who’s set up to manage these things when you pass away,” said Alexander.

No one can get in touch with Kimball’s family members, but the Pitt County Council on Aging wants to make sure Kimball is not forgotten.

“He was just the lovingest person, with many jokes,” said Gwedolyn Harris, Kimball’s caregiver.

Kimball’s friend Sharon Doucet remembers him fondly.

“Leland was the type of man that he spoke his peace,” said Doucet.

Although Leland Kimball died alone, will not have a formal funeral and did not have the best relationship with his blood family, his adapted family at the Pitt County Council on Aging will make sure he’s never forgotten.

“Family isn’t just blood,” said Rich Zeck, the Pitt County Council on Aging’s director. “Family is all of us as a community — young, old, black, white, whatever the difference is, we are the same.”

Kimball’s caregiver is trying to claim his belongings, but for now, the landlord won’t let her in.

Although Kimball’s died alone, that doesn’t mean he won’t be missed.

“I loved him dearly, said Doucet.

Vidant Medical Center has a list of advance care planning steps you can take to plan ahead.

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