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What to Do When a Loved One Dies

Losing someone you love is hard. Unfortunately, a lot of things need to be handled right away during this challenging time. We’ve provided a list of To Dos to help make this process easier.

What to Do When a Loved One Dies

Losing someone you love is hard. Unfortunately, a lot of things need to be handled right away during this challenging time. We’ve provided a list of To Dos to help make this process easier.


Important Contact Information:







Immediately following death, you should:

  1. Contact the funeral home to take your loved one into their care- order at least 10 original death certificates.
  2. Alert immediate family members and close friends.
  3. If employed, contact the deceased’s employer.
  4. If applicable, notify agent under Power of Attorney.
  5. Alert the executor of your loved one’s Will.
  6. Notify religious, fraternal, and civic organizations that your loved one was a member of.
  7. Notify your attorney regarding the probate of the estate.
  8. Arrange for the care of any dependents.
  9. If the deceased had any pets, arrange for their immediate care.
  10. Remove any valuables from the deceased’s home, secure the residence, and take steps to make the home appear to be occupied (for example, use of lamp timers).
  11. Arrange for the disposal of any perishables/trash left in the deceased’s home.
  12. Alert the Post Office to forward the deceased’s mail.
  13. Contact the Social Security Administration and other government offices that may have been making payments to the decedent. If the decedent was your spouse, inquire about your eligibility for new benefits.
  14. Locate loved one’s important documents:
    ❑ Will
    ❑ Social Security card
    ❑ Marriage license
    ❑ Copy of funeral prearrangements
    ❑ Life insurance policies
  15. Compile the following information about the deceased person that the funeral home will need in order to finalize the death certificate:
    ❑ First, middle and last name
    ❑ Maiden name (if applicable)
    ❑ Home address
    ❑ Social Security number
    ❑ Date of birth
    ❑ Date of death
    ❑ Spouse’s first and last name
    ❑ Highest level of education attained
    ❑ Occupation
    ❑ Place of birth (city and state)
    ❑ Father’s name
    ❑ Father’s birth city
    ❑ Father’s birth state
    ❑ Deceased’s mother’s name
    ❑ Mother’s birth city
    ❑ Birth state
    If your loved one was a Veteran:
    ❑ DD-214 (discharge papers and separation documents)

Within one month, you should:

  1. Consult with an attorney about probate.
  2. Meet with an accountant to discuss estate taxes.
  3. Meet with a trusted financial advisor to file claims with life insurance companies and review estate.
  4. Notify the Registrar of Voters.
  5. If the deceased’s home is unoccupied, cancel unnecessary home services, such as newspaper delivery, cable service, etc.
  6. Cancel deceased’s prescriptions.
  7. Contact the Department of Motor Vehicles to cancel deceased’s driver’s license and transfer titles of all registered vehicles.
  8. If your loved one was a veteran, inquire about benefits that you may be entitled to through the VA.
  9. Contact the deceased’s employer. Inquire about any 401 (k), pension, or company benefits that the decedent may be entitled to.
  10. Notify all 3 credit reporting agencies.
  11. Obtain a current copy of the deceased’s credit report.
  12. If the death was accidental, verify whether benefits are available on existing insurance policies.
  13. Check for any life insurance benefits available through existing credit card or loan accounts.
  14. File any outstanding claims for health insurance or Medicare
  15. Obtain copies of deceased’s outstanding bills.
  16. Locate and/or obtain other important paperwork of the necessary for the settlement of their estate:
    ❑ At least 10 copies of the
         certified Death Certificates 

    ❑ Real estate deeds and titles 

    ❑ Stock certificates

    ❑ Real estate titles

    ❑ Loan paperwork

    ❑ Bank, investment and
        retirement account statements
    ❑ Last 2 years of tax returns
  17. Advise all creditors in writing that a death has occurred.

Within 6 months, you should:

  1. Change ownership of assets and lines of credit.
  2. Update your Will.
  3. Update beneficiaries on your life insurance policies, if necessary.
  4. Send acknowledgement cards for flowers, donations, food, kindness.
  5. Organize and distribute decedent’s personal belongings.
  6. Remove loved one’s from marketing and mailing lists.