LOVED ONE PASSES CHECKLIST
It’s a fog when a loved one passes, but if you are the responsible party, you best take the right steps. The following is a combination of personal suggestions with other published lists.
First of all, get a pronouncement of death. If you are in a medical facility, they will handle this. Otherwise:
- Call Hospice, because they will arrange for the declaration of death and transport of the body.
- If the person passes at home, call 911 and present their do-not-resuscitate document to those who respond. If none exists, they will most-likely start CPR and transport the body to an emergency room for a doctor to make the declaration.
- Arrange for transportation of the body by a mortuary (by-law). They are a phone call away and therefore helpful.
- Notify the person’s doctor or the county coroner. Notify close family, employer, religious leader or friends (use your best judgement and know with social media, the news spreads fast!)
- Take care of dependents or pets that remain in the house.
- Secure the house.
- Stop for a minute and Breathe – this is challenging, stay in the moment, take care of yourself and you will get through this
Within a few days
- Arrange for a final send-off (funeral, burial, cremation). You’ll want to do this according to your loved one’s wishes, so ask questions and search for their instructions. Sometimes they are with a family member, a lawyer, or handwritten in a journal in the underwear drawer.
- Tell the funeral home staff if your loved one was in the military – they may arrange for special activities at the funeral.
- Prepare an obituary. Be advised that sometimes people pre-write these, so ask questions or review documents so you can proceed.
Next few days
- Obtain death certificates (usually from the funeral home). You’ll need multiple copies – we suggest 10-ish and keep them in a file in your car or with you. You’ll need them for insurance, banks, government agencies, etc.
- Take the will and the death certificate to the appropriate city or county office to begin the probate process. Your funeral home staff will help you with local contacts.
- Open a bank account for the estate, if necessary.
- Other tasks:
- Talk with a trust/estate attorney to determine probate duties.
- Annual tax return, in general should be prepared and filed in the same manner as when they were alive.
- Talk with the person’s investment adviser.
- Bank, credit union, etc. to check on accounts and safety deposit box.
- Life insurance agent to get forms. Note: do everything in accordance to the policy instructions!
- Notify Social Security 800-772-1213 or socialsecurity.gov and other agencies to stop payments and determine survivor benefits.
- Notify any companies pertaining to pensions. Ask questions if there are survivor benefits, for example some companies pay a partial medical benefit to a surviving spouse.
- The house is a separate topic. Meantime handle the property insurance company, post office and utilities.