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Checklist of What to Do After a Loved One Dies

after a loved one dies
When a loved one passes away, it’s important to know what to do next. Our guide on what to do after a loved one dies can help provide guidance and support.

After losing a member of family, the very last thing you want to do is complete a list of to-dos. The pain and loss alone are overwhelming enough. Taking time to work through your grief is essential. Yet there are, unfortunately, a number of tasks that need to be taken care of, at various intervals following the individual’s passing.

To ease this process, we have compiled a simple checklist and timeline of items to address.

What Do I Need to Do After My Loved One Passes Away?

Immediately 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 person and ask them to spread the word, or it may be more cathartic for you to speak with each individual yourself. Use social media or email if that works for you. There is 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’d like to help 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 take care of this for you).
  • Close the individual’s email account, and either close or memorialize their social media account(s).
  • Make a list of all assets and bills, and cancel accounts: electric, phone, internet, streaming services, etc.
  • Locate the person’s will and identify who the executor is.
  • 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.
  • Contact a CPA to prepare a final tax return to be filed.
  • Meet with an attorney to discuss estate settlement.
  • Notify the Social Security Administration, bank and financial advisors, life insurance company, a credit bureau for example, Equifax, and the DMV. Most of these organizations will need a copy of the death certificate.

Home Sweet Home In-Home Care is here to help 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 numerous final tasks and arrangements needed. Email or call us any time at (866) 229-2505 for assistance in Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, Paw Paw, and St. Joseph.

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