Dealing with the death of a loved one is a difficult and emotional experience. It can be overwhelming to think about all the tasks that need to be taken care of in the aftermath. To help you navigate this difficult time, we’ve compiled a post-death checklist of items that need to be taken care of.
- Notify the appropriate parties: The first step after a loved one’s death is to notify the appropriate parties. This includes their doctor or hospice care provider, their employer (if applicable), their attorney, and any other relevant professionals or organizations. You’ll also need to notify the local authorities if the death was unexpected or occurred outside of a medical setting.
- Make funeral arrangements: Depending on your loved one’s wishes and your own preferences, you’ll need to make arrangements for a funeral or memorial service. This may involve contacting a funeral home, purchasing a casket or urn, selecting a cemetery or cremation provider, and making arrangements for transportation of the body. You may also need to arrange for a clergy member or other officiant to conduct the service.
- Obtain a death certificate: You’ll need to obtain a death certificate in order to take care of many of the tasks on this list. In most cases, the funeral home or hospice care provider will handle this for you. You’ll need to provide them with information about the deceased, including their name, date of birth, and place of birth. The death certificate will also list the cause of death and will be required for many legal purposes.
- Notify financial institutions: You’ll need to notify any financial institutions that the deceased was affiliated with, such as banks, credit card companies, and investment firms. This includes canceling any credit cards or accounts that are no longer needed. You’ll also need to notify the Social Security Administration of the death so that any benefits can be stopped.
- Update estate documents: If the deceased had a will or other estate planning documents, you’ll need to update them to reflect their death. This may involve transferring ownership of assets to the designated beneficiaries, paying any outstanding debts, and distributing any remaining assets according to the terms of the will. You may need to work with an attorney to help you navigate this process.
- Contact insurance companies: If the deceased had any insurance policies, you’ll need to contact the insurance companies to inform them of the death and to make a claim on the policy. This may include life insurance, health insurance, and any other policies that provided coverage.
- Cancel any subscriptions: If the deceased had any subscriptions or memberships, you’ll need to cancel them. This may include things like magazine subscriptions, gym memberships, and online services.
- Change titles on assets: If the deceased owned any assets, such as a car or a house, you’ll need to change the title to reflect the new ownership. This may involve transferring the title to a designated beneficiary or selling the asset.
- Close any accounts: You’ll need to close any accounts that are no longer needed, such as utility accounts, phone accounts, and internet accounts. This may also include accounts on social media platforms or other online services.
- Update legal documents: If the deceased had any legal documents, such as a power of attorney or a healthcare proxy, you’ll need to update them to reflect their death. You may need to work with an attorney to help you navigate this process.
- Gather important documents: You’ll need to gather any important documents that the deceased had, such as their birth certificate, marriage certificate, and any other legal documents. You’ll also want to gather any financial documents, such as bank statements, investment documents, drivers licenses, passports, and more.
Don’t hesitate to enlist the help and support of family and friends during this time. Those close to you will be looking for ways to support you, and this is one of the most meaningful ways in which one can offer their help during an extremely difficult time.