Top Things To Do After the Death of a Loved One

You’re one of the fortunate ones if you’ve spoken about end-of-life preparations with nurses and counselors who have persuaded you and your family to make plans and arrangements for an elder’s passing. Unfortunately, in addition to coming to grips with a loved one’s death, some people must deal with finding their loved one, contacting 911, hosting emergency personnel, and attempts to resuscitate. They may have to deal with corpse removal and cleanup, or sometimes even having the police investigate a possible crime, including elder abuse.

Prevent a bad situation from getting much worse:

  1. Obtain a legal pronouncement of death. Whether the individual dies at home or in a facility like a hospital or hospice will determine how to do so. If there isn’t a doctor available to pronounce death, you’ll need to contact someone and may need to dial 911. The paramedics will not begin emergency treatments if your loved one has a “do-not-resuscitate” (DNR) order. They will transport your loved one to an emergency department, where a doctor will make the diagnosis. In most cases, a doctor is required to proclaim death.
  2. You may need to arrange for the body’s transportation. A mortuary may pick up your loved one if death has been declared and no autopsy is required, but they must first give pricing over the phone. You may need transportation to a crematorium.
  3. Check the driver’s license of the dead to discover whether they were an organ donor. This is a priority since organs decay fast.
  4. Check to see whether a doctor or the county coroner has been contacted.
  5. Contact immediate family and friends, and urge them to contact distant relatives.
  6. You may need to speak with your dependents. You may need to decide on your loved one’s pets.
  7. If your relative or friend worked, you could contact the company for benefits and any outstanding pay information. Inquire about the existence of a life insurance policy. 

In a few days after death:

  • Make funeral arrangements, including burial or cremation. This may require looking through the decedent’s papers to discover whether there was a pre-paid burial plan. Visit the mortuary with a family member or acquaintance. An obituary will need to be written and posted.
  • If your loved one served in the military or was a member of a fraternal or religious organization, get in touch with them. It may conduct funeral services or provide other burial benefits.
  • Request that a friend or family keep a watch on the person’s house, answer the phone, collect mail, dispose of food, and water plants.
  • Create an online memorial page – most funeral homes provide this service and will assist you.
  • Think about getting a coffin or an urn. Caskets may be pricey, so bringing a friend along as the “voice of reason” can help the newly bereaved from purchasing an unnecessary expensive one when in the depths of sorrow.

Within 10 days after death:

  1. Take the will to your county court to put it through the probate process.
  2. The executor of the estate should, if required, create a bank account for the estate.
  3. Talk to a trust and estates lawyer on how to transfer assets and deal with probate difficulties.
  4. Request that the deceased’s residence is checked regularly if it is unoccupied.
  5. Consult with an accountant or tax preparer to determine if an estate tax return or a final income tax return is necessary.
  6. Contact Social Security and other government organizations, such as Veterans Affairs, to inquire about benefits, halt payments, and inquire about survivor benefits.

No one wants to deal with a loved one’s death, but it’s better to be prepared. Save this checklist to use when a traumatic incident happens to prevent it from becoming worse.

Subscribe Now to Our Newsletter

Be the first to hear important updates! Subscribe now to hear weekly news about inheritance and other estate planning issues.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter!

Unlimited Updates For 1 Year

Each purchase comes with free updates for the first year. After that, you may purchase an additional year of unlimited updates ($29 for Will, $59 for Trust). You can revoke a Will or Living Trust or amend them at any time before you pass away.