What do you do when a loved one dies?
A checklist for the survivors
The emotional aspect of dealing with bereavement – even one that was expected – can be devastating. It can be easy to overcomplicate the process and get lost on your journey.
is no “right” way to do it. You may need professional help to talk through your feelings or time to process it all on your own.
Here is a list of suggestions for things you should do when a loved one dies:
- Take care of yourself. Ensure you eat healthy meals, get plenty of rest, and exercise regularly.
- Reach out to family and friends for support. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
- Take your time when making decisions. You don’t need to rush into anything, and taking your time to think things through is ok.
- Make sure to attend to any necessary paperwork and financial matters. Connect with a grief counselor or bereavement support group if needed.
- Find ways to honor your loved one’s memory.
Whether it’s through a memorial service, a special tribute, or even a simple act of kindness in their name, take the time to remember them meaningfully.
The steps below outline the main areas you must address, starting immediately following the death. At Jeff Monreal Funeral Home, we can help you with all the important information and considerations along the way.
If you need clarification on where to start following a bereavement, Call Any Time (440) 527-6294, and we can go through your next steps together.
IMMEDIATELY AFTER DEATH:
- ❑ The funeral home should be contacted so that they take charge of adequately caring for your loved one.
- ❑ Alert your immediate family members and close friends.
- ❑ If employed, contact the deceased’s employer.
- ❑ If applicable, notify the deceased’s Power of Attorney.
- ❑ If applicable, notify the Executor of the deceased’s Will.
- ❑ Notify civic organizations and fraternal or religious affiliations.
- ❑ For the probate of the estate: notify your attorney
- ❑ Make arrangements for dependents or pets.
- ❑ Secure the residence by removing any valuables. Make the home appear occupied (such as using timers on lamps).
- ❑ Dispose of perishable foods and empty garbage.
- ❑ Notify the Post Office to forward the deceased’s mail.
Locate loved one’s essential documents:
- ❑ Will
- ❑ Birth certificate
- ❑ Social Security card
- ❑ Marriage license
- ❑ Military discharge papers (DD-214)
- ❑ Deed to burial property
- ❑ Copy of funeral prearrangements
- ❑ Life insurance policies
Compile the following information that the funeral home will need to finalize the death certificate:
- ❑ First, middle, and last name of deceased
- ❑ Maiden Name (if applicable) and Home Address of deceased
- ❑ Social Security Number of deceased
- ❑ Date of Birth of deceased
- ❑ Date of Death
- ❑ Age of deceased
- ❑ Gender of deceased
- ❑ Ethnicity/Race
- ❑ Marital Status
- ❑ First and last name of Spouse
- ❑ Highest level of education attained by deceased
- ❑ Occupation of deceased
- ❑ Place of Birth (City and State) of deceased
- ❑ Deceased’s Father’s Name
- ❑ Birth City
- ❑ Birth State Deceased’s Mother’s Name
- ❑ Birth City
- ❑ Birth State
If your loved one was a Veteran
- ❑ Service Date Entered
- ❑ Service Place Entered
- ❑ Service Number
- ❑ Service Date Separated
- ❑ Service Place Separated
- ❑ Rank, or Rating, and Grade
- ❑ Service Branch or Organization
WITHIN ONE MONTH:
- ❑ If applicable, talk to an attorney about probate.
- ❑ Talk to an accountant to discuss estate taxes. File claims with life insurance companies.
- ❑ Get in touch with the Social Security Administration and other government offices that may have paid the decedent.
- ❑ If your spouse died, ask about new benefits and whether you are eligible.
- ❑ Notify Registrar of Voters.
- ❑ Cancel home services, like cable, internet, newspaper delivery, etc.
- ❑ Cancel any of the deceased’s prescriptions.
- ❑ Cancel the deceased’s driver’s license and transfer titles of all vehicles with the Department of Motor Vehicles.
- ❑ Contact the deceased’s employer.
- ❑ Inquire about any 401 (k), pension, or company benefits to which the decedent may be entitled.
- ❑ Notify all three credit reporting agencies (see below).
- ❑ Obtain a current copy of your loved one’s credit report.
- ❑ Verify whether benefits are available on existing insurance policies depending on the circumstances of the death (accidental?).
- ❑ Check benefits available through existing credit card or loan accounts for life insurance.
- Ask about benefits you may receive through the VA if your loved one was a veteran.
- ❑ File any outstanding claims for Medicare or health insurance
- ❑ Obtain copies of the deceased’s outstanding bills.
- ❑ Locate and obtain other important paperwork necessary for the settlement of their estate:
- ❑ At least 12 copies of the death certificate in the form of certified Death Certificates
- ❑ Real estate deeds and titles
- ❑ Stock certificates
- ❑ Real estate titles
- ❑ Loan paperwork
- ❑ Bank and retirement account statements
- ❑ Tax returns: the past four years
- ❑ Notify all creditors in writing that a death has occurred.
- ❑ Change ownership of assets and lines of credit.
- ❑ Update your Will.
- ❑ Update beneficiaries on your life insurance policies, if necessary.
- ❑ Send acknowledgment cards for flowers, donations, food, and kindness. Also, remember to thank pallbearers.
- ❑ Organize and distribute the decedent’s personal belongings.
- ❑ Remove loved ones from marketing and mailing lists.
❑ Update all legal documents, such as Power of Attorney, Living Will, and Trusts.
❑ Obtain copies of all insurance policies, including life, health, and long-term care policies. ❑ Apply for Social Security benefits.
❑ File final income tax returns and estate taxes.
❑ Pay any outstanding debts and bills.
❑ Make arrangements for the funeral and burial services.
❑ Work with an attorney to file probate documents.
❑ Retitle any jointly held assets in the surviving spouse’s name.
❑ Close all bank accounts and credit cards in the decedent’s name.
❑ Contact the decedent’s employer and file for any benefits.
❑ Collect any unpaid wages or vacation pay due to the deceased.
❑ Notify state and federal agencies of the death.
❑ Cancel any subscriptions or memberships in the decedent’s name.
❑ Distribute any remaining assets in accordance with the will.
IMPORTANT CONTACT INFORMATION
DEPARTMENT OF VETERAN’S AFFAIRS
SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION
CREDIT REPORTING AGENCIES
1-800-685-1111 • www.Equifax.com
1-800-888-4213 • www.TransUnion.com
1-888-397-3742 • www.Experian.com