Follow This Checklist After the Death of a Loved One
After losing a loved one, the last thing you want to do is complete a list of to-dos. The pain and loss alone are overwhelming enough. Taking the time to sort out your grief is very important. Yet there are, unfortunately, a number of tasks that need to be taken care of, at various intervals after the person’s passing.
To help ease this process, we have put together a straightforward checklist and timeline of items to address.
What Do I Need to Do After My Loved One Passes Away?
Just after death:
• Obtain the legal pronouncement of death by a medical professional. In a nursing home or hospital, this will automatically be taken care of. In the case of death at home, call 911 for transport to the hospital for the pronouncement.
• Notify friends and family. Use whatever method is most comfortable for you. You can contact one individual and ask them to spread the word, or it could be more cathartic for you to speak with each individual yourself. Use email or social media if that works for you. There’s no right or wrong way to accomplish this.
• Contact the funeral home of your choice (or, if final wishes were preplanned, your loved one’s choice) to advise them of the death.
Within a few days:
• Work with the funeral home, the individual’s religious organization, and, if applicable, the Veterans’ Administration, to finalize plans for the service.
• Determine who you would like to assist with funeral-related tasks, such as writing the obituary, helping with thank-you notes, serving as pallbearers, and making arrangements for a post-funeral gathering.
• Lock up any valuables in the home and remove any perishable food.
• Make long-term arrangements for any pets.
• Contact the post office for a forwarding order for the person’s mail.
In two weeks:
• Obtain ten copies of the individual’s death certificate (or, ask the funeral home to manage this for you).
• Close the person’s email account, and either close or memorialize their social media account(s).
• Take a copy of the will to your city or county probate court office to begin the process of ensuring the person’s wishes outlined within the will are followed and that all outstanding debts are resolved.
• Notify the Social Security Administration, bank and financial advisors, life insurance company, a credit bureau such as Equifax, and the DMV. Most of these organizations will need a copy of the death certificate.
• Speak with an attorney to discuss estate settlement.
• Contact a CPA to arrange for a final tax return to be filed.
• Locate the person’s will and determine who the executor is.
• Make a list of all assets and bills, and cancel accounts: electric, phone, internet, streaming services, etc.
Generations at Home is here to assist you through this difficult time, especially if the person leaves behind an elderly spouse. Our caregivers can step in to fill any gaps in care while you take care of the many final tasks and arrangements needed. Reach out to us any time at 727-940-3414 for assistance.