6 Practical Steps You Should Immediately Do When A Loved One Passes Away

When a loved one dies, they leave behind a life that must be closed out. Death is not something that many of us handle easily. It’s tough if you’re tasked with handling funeral arrangements and other personal affairs. This experience often comes suddenly and can cause a flood of overwhelming emotions. We process grief differently and how one person does might be different from how you process grief. Even with the despair looming over you, you need to ensure that you honor your loved ones’ wishes and settle their affairs. To help you through this stressful period, here’s a checklist of the things you should get done.

1. Plan for Funeral Arrangements

You can consult family members to find out if there was a prepaid burial plan. If there’s no such plan, you will need to choose funeral directors and decide where the service will be held. Additionally, it would help if you also decided whether to cremate and where the body or ashes will be interred. It will help if you research for various funeral prices before settling down on one. If the deceased person was in the military or a specific religious group, you could contact the particular organization to see if they offer burial benefits. This is a tedious task, and you can’t do it alone. It will help if you line up family members to assist in planning the service. You will also need to prepare for the post-funeral arrangements, such as writing thank-you notes to well-wishers.

2. Seek a Legal Pronouncement of Death

This process is done by a doctor or registered nurses if your loved one dies in a nursing home or a hospital. A death declaration is the first step to getting an official death certificate. Before making any step, it would help if you get the official documentation of your loved one’s death. However, if the person involved dies at home, you will need to get a medical practitioner to declare him/her dead. You can contact 911 to have the person transported to an ER (Emergency Room), where they can be declared dead. After this, the hospital staff will move the deceased to a funeral home to facilitate burial arrangements.

3. Notify Family and Friends

Each family is different, and there’s no right way to do this. In some cases, some families will prefer receiving the news in-person. However, if most of the family members are distant, you can send out a group text or email. You can start by tracking down those close to the deceased, like their siblings and parents. Start by going through the dead’s email and phone contacts to get some of the contacts you need. If the task is overwhelming, you can split it between several family members. Additionally, you might also need to contact coworkers and members of any community groups or church the person belonged to. Since we’re in the digital era, you can also post about death on social media.

4. Probate the Will and Estate

If the deceased left a will behind, he/she likely named an executor in charge of carrying out final wishes – some of these tasks might include distributing property and other financial assets. If the deceased died without a will, many state laws will provide a detailed list of those who could serve in the capacity. In many cases, property transferred at death is governed by state law. However, the details might differ from state to state, and you will need to check with your local authority. If the deceased left you as the executor, you should obtain letters testamentary. These documents provide proof that you are authorized to handle the dead’s financial matters during probate.

5. Organ Donation

If this is applicable, you can check the deceased’s license or any advanced directive to establish if he/she was an organ donor. If this is so, you can notify the hospital staff immediately. If your loved one dies at home, you will need to contact a nearby hospital for the necessary arrangement. Organ donation is a sensitive issue, which means you’ll need to act immediately and timely.

6. What If One Dies Out-of-State or Country?

If someone dies outside of the state or county, you will need to plan for the necessary travel arrangements. This mostly happens if the family wants to conduct a traditional burial service in the deceased’s hometown. Some funeral homes will assist you in arranging transportation from another country or state.

The final step also involves preparing for the obituary. This can be published in the newspaper or online. If writing is challenging for you, you can ask a family member to do it. Finally, ensure to close their email accounts to prevent fraud and identity theft. We hope our ideas will help you plan for a loved ones’ death with ease.