What to Do When a Loved One Passes Away

Coping with the death of a loved one is an emotional and traumatic experience. To ease the burden during this difficult time, here are a few simple tips on how to sort through these tasks:

  • Notify family and friends. Contact your family and friends. You may also want to consider having family members help with the arrangements.

  • Manage paperwork. Look for relevant documentation and instructions which may have been left regarding preferences for funeral and burial arrangements. Relevant documents include: Funeral and Burial Plans, Safety Deposit Keys, Life Insurance Policies, Bank Statements, Titles, Leases, Securities, Health Insurance and unpaid bills.

  • Make funeral arrangements. If prior arrangements have not been made, you should contact the funeral home of your choice to make an appointment with the Funeral Director. Contact with the funeral home should be made on the day of passing. If you are unable to contact the funeral home yourself, you may wish to enlist the help of a trusted family member or friend to call on your behalf.

  • Notify the government. You will need to contact the government and any financial institutions and insurance companies with whom your deceased family member was associated. A copy of the death certificate will be required so keep a copy on hand. You will want to request multiple copies because most companies will require original death certificates and copies won't suffice.

  • Contact the lawyer. Contact your loved one's lawyer to review any wills or special requests they may have had. If this information is unavailable, contacting your own lawyer is suggested.

  • Cleaning out your loved one's home. You may wish to enlist the help of a trusted family member or friend to help you go through your loved one's belongings. Make an inventory of household goods and personal belongings so that it can be properly distributed. Be mindful of any specific items that may have been mentioned in your loved one's will before distributing or discarding them. Any remaining items such as clothes or furniture that were excluded from the will can be donated to a charitable organization of your choice, on your loved ones behalf.

  • Get support. The most difficult step in dealing with the passing of a loved one is learning how to manage your grief. This is an emotionally taxing time and the healing process can be complex and more difficult from one individual to another. If you are overwhelmed and finding it too difficult to manage on your own, talk to someone. Call a friend, support group or a social service professional who can help you deal with your loss.

This simple guideline should help you get through the basics. Just remember to take things one-step at a time and most importantly, make sure to ask for help if you need it.

 

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