The death of a loved one, a family member, or a close friend is a painful reality we must face at some point. We can’t really plan for it emotionally, and the tasks and decisions we must make can feel overwhelming. All we can do is make ourselves aware. Learn what what to do and expect with this checklist, so your time for grieving is not lost or compromised.

At Port Legal, we know this is not a comforting subject. However, we also understand the need to make ourselves aware so that we know what to expect and ensure we don’t miss something important.

Phase 1 Immediately After a Death

  1. Call 911; or if loved one was in hospice care, call the hospice nurse or county coroner.
  2. Notify all close family members
  3. Arrange for immediate care of children or dependents of the deceased.
  4. Arrange for care of pets.
  5. Secure the deceased’s home.
  6. Make arrangements for organ donation, if applicable.

Phase 2 Next Concerns After a Death

  1. Make funeral or cremation arrangements pursuant to the loved one’s wishes or directives.
  2. Arrange for utilities to be paid.
  3. Inform the person’s employer.
  4. Search for loved one’s important papers including a will; gather mail daily or forward to another address.
  5. Obtain death certificate from funeral home or county health department.
  6. Start the probate process with family handling it or seek the advice of a probate attorney; or if a trust exists, make arrangements for the administration of the deceased’s trust. Even if you do not hire an attorney, consult one for advice on proper steps to take.

Phase 3 Other Concerns After a Death

  1. Have police drive by the deceased’s home occasionally if no one will be staying there.
  2. Apply for life insurance, social security benefits, employer, military or other benefits available.
  3. Stop health and life insurance company payments. Check for any auto withdraws from bank accounts and other financial institutions.
  4. Cancel credit cards, subscriptions, notify credit reporting agencies, board of elections and state BMV.
  5. Understand that Powers of Attorney dissolve upon the loved one’s death, so DO NOT use any POA to make any financial arrangements.
  6. Take care of plants and throw out any food which may spoil.

Needless to say, there’s a lot to think about… a lot of details that will confront you at a very difficult time.

Hopefully, knowing the details and priorities during a time when your friends and family are counting on you will make it a little easier for you and everyone around you.