What Steps You Should Take After a Death of a Family Member

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one passes is challenging, especially if they don’t have a will.

If you don’t know what to do after your loved one dies, we can help. In this guide, we’ll go over what to do after a death in your family.

Want to learn more? Keep reading.

Get a Formal Declaration

After a loved one passes away, a medical professional or doctor needs to pronounce them dead. If someone passes away at a nursing home or the hospital, the staff will provide this service.

Yet, if your loved one dies at their home and it’s unexpected, you should call 911.

Most of the time, the person will get transported to the hospital where the formal declaration’s made. Then, the deceased will get moved to a local funeral home.

Tell Family and Friends

A few days after your loved one’s death, you should begin to call friends, family, and acquaintances to let them know. After, you can start to make arrangements for a memorial service or a funeral.

Today, it’s difficult to gather together because of the pandemic. You could wait to get together in person for a few months. Consider organizing a virtual memorial in the meantime.

Arrange the Burial

You’ll have a choice between burial or cremation at the mortuary. Consider your rights in these situations. Some morticians will try and sell you an urn for the ashes. You’re not required to have an urn.

The mortuary or funeral home can provide death certificates. Make sure you get a few copies. You’ll need this certificate when you deal with your loved one’s financial institution later on.

Learn more about the benefits of cremation.

Cancel Social Security and Turn off Utilities

Once someone passes away, the social security benefits will stop. Don’t cash any checks that arrive in the mail. Inform the agency of your loved one’s death.

Social security used after a loved one’s death will need to get returned. Some people end up making the mistake of using the money. You don’t want to get penalized.

Ask for the help of a close friend or family member to sort through the rest of your loved one’s stuff.

Take time to inform employers, forward mail, and cancel credit cards. Did your loved one own a house or an apartment? If it’s going to be unoccupied, consider turning off the utilities.

Look for the Will and the Executor

You’ll need to find the deceased’s will. Inform surviving family and friends where belongings, property, and money will go.

You’ll need to bring the will to a city office and go through the probate process. Probate is the legal execution of the will.

Every state has various laws around the distribution of property if someone passes away without a will. Courts will choose a family member as an executor.

Transfer Assets and Money

You can add children as co-signatories on bank accounts. This way, they can access the money after their parents pass away.

If there’s an account with 3000 dollars, you might need to use that money for the funeral. Pay off credit card balances. Income tax on recent earnings will need to get paid.

Some financial accounts will have a payable-on-death designation. Funds will get released with the proof that the owner died.

Use your extra death certificate for this. The bank will need an original copy to grant you access to the account.

If there isn’t a cosignatory or payable-on-death designation, the financial account could get frozen. You might need to settle this through probate.

What About Dependents or Pets?

Was your loved one responsible for taking care of children or a few pets? Make sure you find someone who can care for them temporarily. You will need to work on a long-term plan.

Clean Out the Apartment or House

A challenging task after a loved one passes away is cleaning out their house or apartment. People tend to get paralyzed or overwhelmed with this task.

It’s hard to throw away the last few items that your loved one used. Take your time going through family heirlooms, clothing, and pictures.

Don’t make any significant decisions about what to do with their possessions right away. 

You’ll need to get through the first birthdays, holidays, and anniversaries. Managing everything will take time too.

Emails and solicitations could still arrive for your deceased loved one. The work could drag on for a couple of months to a year or two.

That’s why it’s essential to talk about final wishes with your loved ones. This way, you can know more about the will, who your loved one would like at the funeral, and so on.

People find it challenging to talk about funerals and death. Yet, it’s helpful to spend some time talking about these final stages.

Now You Know What to Do After a Death of a Loved One

We hope this guide on dealing with death was helpful. Now that you know what to do after a death sit down with loved ones and ask them about their final wishes.

Learn more about the will, and find out what they would like you to do with their belongings or properties.

Was this guide helpful? Check out our other resources on relationships, education, and more.

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