What to Do After a Loved One Dies: A Survivor’s Responsibilities
Has a family member recently died? It’s never easy to lose a loved one.
While the grieving period can be difficult, there are still plenty of decisions that need to be made. The next of kin legal responsibilities have to be taken care of according to the wishes of the deceased. What exactly does that mean? Well, you’ve come to the right place for answers.
This article takes a look at what to do after a loved one dies. Keep reading to get understand the items that should be on a checklist when someone dies.
Table of Contents
- 1 Get a Copy of the Death Certificate
- 2 Arrange for Possible Organ Donations
- 3 Notify Family and Friends
- 4 Contact Funeral Home
- 5 Make Funeral Arrangements
- 6 Notify the Loved One’s Employer
- 7 Have their Mail Forwarded
- 8 Determine How to Handle Funeral Costs
- 9 Take Care of Legal Matters
- 10 Notify any Life Insurance Companies
- 11 A Complete Guide for What to Do After a Loved One Dies
Get a Copy of the Death Certificate
There will likely be a number of official documents to deal with following the death of a loved on. This includes the legal pronouncement of their death. If they didn’t die at home, you’ll need to get a copy of any documentation regarding the death from the hospice or nursing home.
You’ll also need to order multiple copies of the death certificate. Keep in mind that the death certificate is required when handing legal matters such as receiving insurance benefits and contacting the Social Security Administration.
Have you wondered, how long does it take to get a death certificate in Texas?
Arrange for Possible Organ Donations
As soon as the death is confirmed, it’s important to check their driver’s license to see if they wished to be an organ donor. If so, notify a member of the nursing home staff or hospital staff immediately. The organ donation process is obviously time-sensitive, thus the body needs to be delivered to the appropriate facility as soon as possible.
Notify Family and Friends
Sharing the news of a death is never easy. And yet this is a necessary part of the process.
When your loved one passes away, be sure to contact family members and close friends as soon as possible. This will give time to start making plans to attend the funeral and to spread the word to other close acquaintances.
Keep in mind that dealing with every detail of planning a funeral and dealing with well-wishers can be stressful, so never be afraid to ask for help.
Contact Funeral Home
Next, contact the funeral home so that they can begin the process of putting together the necessary arrangements for the memorial service.
Hopefully, most of these arrangements were settled ahead of time. This will help save time, reduce stress, and help reduce the number of major decisions that have to be made as you begin the grieving process.
Make Funeral Arrangements
Once you’ve contacted a funeral home, you’ll need to take the time to plan each step of the actual funeral, memorial service, and graveside service.
This process will include picking a casket or cremation urn, writing a eulogy, choosing the location for the funeral, and ordering printed materials, etc.
Again, things will definitely run smoother and be far less stressful when many of these details are settled prior to death.
The funeral is typically held within 3 or 4 days of the death, thus you will need to notify family and friends to pass along the appropriate details.
Notify the Loved One’s Employer
When someone dies, there are a number of people who will need to be notified. This is especially important if the person was young enough to have a job, a mortgage, and other normal responsibilities.
You’ll need to contact their employer, the bank that holds the mortgage or the landlord if they rented, as well as any car loan lenders.
In addition, various government agencies will need to be notified about the death. This includes the Social Security Administration as well as the VA if your loved one happened to be a veteran.
Have their Mail Forwarded
It’s important to keep in mind that the mail won’t stop just automatically stop when an individual passes away. In fact, it will continue to be delivered forever until all senders are notified of the death.
This means that you will need to make arrangements to have as many places notified as possible that the person is no longer alive. You will also need to contact the post office to notify them of the passing and to have their mail delivered to a different address. This will enable you to deal with the senders directly until there is no longer any mail addressed to the deceased.
Determine How to Handle Funeral Costs
It’s no secret that funerals tend to be expensive. Hopefully the deceased loved one had planned ahead, making specific prior arrangements to cover funeral costs. If not, you’ll need to decide how to handle these matters so that the funeral home gets paid.
Keep in mind that if the death was preceded by a lengthy illness or the person was elderly, you can reduce anxiety by encouraging them to take steps to prepare their funeral arrangements in the months or years before death.
Take Care of Legal Matters
There will likely be plenty of legal matters to take care of. This includes dealing with the will, wrapping up any ongoing legal issues such as bankruptcies, or selling a home and other physical assets, etc.
This can obviously be a very stressful time as you try to take care of loose ends during the grieving period, and yet these details can’t be ignored.
Notify any Life Insurance Companies
Hopefully the deceased had the foresight to invest in adequate life insurance. This can help cover funeral expenses while also providing a financial cushion for a spouse or other surviving family members.
Unfortunately, life insurance is one of those things that people tend to overlook during good health, and thus fail to take the necessary measures needed to make sure that their family is taken care of when they’re gone.
A Complete Guide for What to Do After a Loved One Dies
The grieving process is never easy, and yet it’s also unavoidable. Fortunately, this checklist for what to do after a loved one dies will help reduce stress during an already difficult moment of life.
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