The death of a loved one is always a difficult and trying time. There are many things that need to be taken care of in the aftermath, and it can be difficult to know where to start or what needs to be done.
Here are 25 steps on what to do when someone dies:
- Notify the proper authorities. The first thing that needs to be done when someone dies is to notify the proper authorities, such as the police or coroner. This is especially important if the death was unexpected or suspicious.
- Make arrangements for the body. Once the authorities have been notified, you will need to make arrangements for the body.
- Obtain a death certificate from the doctor or hospital. This is an important document that will be needed for legal and financial purposes.
- Notify family and friends. Once the initial shock of the death has worn off, it is time to notify family and friends. This can be done by calling or sending out announcements.
- Start making funeral arrangements. The next step is to start making funeral arrangements. This includes selecting a funeral home, choosing a casket or urn, and picking out funeral clothing.
- Set up a visitation or wake. A visitation or wake is an opportunity for family and friends to say their final goodbyes to the deceased. This can be done at the funeral home or at the church prior to the funeral service.
- Have the funeral service. The funeral service is typically held at a church, synagogue, or funeral home chapel. This is followed by burial or cremation.
- Send out thank you cards. After the funeral service, it is proper etiquette to send out thank you cards to those who attended and sent flowers or made donations.
- Notify the person’s employer. If the deceased was employed, you will need to notify their employer. This is important for many reasons, such as collecting any final paychecks or benefits that may be due.
- Take care of financial matters. Take care of any financial matters that need to be addressed, such as paying off debts, settling the estate, and distributing assets.
- Close any joint accounts or credit cards the person may have had with another individual.
- Cancel the person’s memberships, subscriptions, and other services they may have had.
- Change the locks on the person’s home if they were living alone. You do not want family members go into a deceased person's home and take things they want.
- File a claim with the person’s life insurance company.
- Notify the Social Security Administration of the person’s death if they were receiving benefits from them.
- Notify the Department of Motor Vehicles of the person’s death if they had a driver’s license.
- Notify the Internal Revenue Service if the person was employed and paying taxes.
- Collect any benefits or money the person may be entitled to, such as from their job, the government, or other organizations.
- Return any borrowed items to the people or places they were borrowed from.
- Cancel any pending appointments the person had.
- Donate the person’s belongings. After the estate has been settled, you may want to donate the deceased’s belongings to charity.
- Update your Will and other legal documents as necessary.
- Make sure you have all the important documents and information you need in one place.
- Settle the person’s estate. If the deceased had any assets, such as a house or car, these will need to be transferred to the beneficiaries named in their Will. If there is no Will, then the estate will need to go through probate.
- Last but not least, don’t forget to take care of yourself during this difficult time. Grief counseling can be extremely helpful in dealing with the death of a loved one.
When someone dies, it is important to follow these 25 steps in order to ensure that everything is handled properly. These steps can vary depending on the situation, but there are some general things that should be done in most cases.