Losing someone close to you is incredibly difficult to go through, and in those first moments after their death, you won’t want to have to think about the practicalities and admin that come along with something like this.
Nonetheless, if the legal and personal responsibilities will fall on your shoulders, your head may be spinning with questions like how to choose the right size urn, where their pets will go, and how to plan a funeral.
Everything will be taken care of in time – here are the first steps you’ll need to take.
Notify Their Loved Ones
Letting people know about the passing is one of the most difficult things you’ll have to do, and you can ask someone close to you to share the responsibility if you need to.
Try to deliver the news in person where possible, and you can ask family members to spread the news amongst more distant family and friends. If you’d like, you can post something about the death on your social media page to reach a wider group of people, but make sure that everyone close to you knows before you do this.
Get the Death Certificate
Legal documentation is crucial when it comes to death, as it plays an important role in handling just about everything else – estate, insurance, funeral planning, shutting down of accounts, financials, etc.
If your loved one passed away in a hospital or a nursing home, the nurses or staff will be able to provide you with a pronouncement of death, which is the first step to getting the death certificate. If they passed away unexpectedly or at home, you would need to have a medical professional come to declare them dead.
Make Funeral/Burial Plans
In an ideal situation, you would know what your late loved one wanted in terms of burial or funeral. If not, you might find this information in their will or a letter of instruction.
If you have no instructions, this matter should be discussed with the family in order to determine what everyone wants and what can be afforded and managed. Once an agreement has been reached, you can start getting in touch with insurers and a funeral planner, or else start planning yourselves.
Handle Their Finances
Of course, you will need to see a lawyer and deal with the deceased’s property and other possessions as stated in their will. However, you will also need to investigate their finances by notifying their bank of the death, deciding how any remaining debt will be paid, canceling credit card accounts, locating all assets, etc.
Close Email and Social Accounts
When the dust has settled a little, you might also want to look into closing your loved one’s email and social accounts. This might be tricky if you don’t have access to the accounts, but you can contact the company and provide them with death certificates in order to do so.
You will also have the option to memorialize the accounts instead of deleting them.