The Steps to Take When a Loved One Dies

As expressed previously in our article “Coping: Dealing With Loss of a Loved One,” coping with death of a loved one is a difficult process, and although you need time and space to handle your emotions, gather your thoughts, and say goodbye, the demands that come with that process come at you from all angles. Thus, to guide you through these difficulties, Funeral.com has developed a visual and textual guide (this article) to help you overcome the difficulties of saying goodbye to your loved one.

Making the First Calls

First and foremost, after a loved one passes, don’t go through the steps of planning and grieving alone. If you’re the type of person who internalizes emotion, this step is crucial to avoid negative coping methods. If you’re alone, ask someone to join you as you take the first step of making the phone calls to family and friends to let them know of your loved one’s passing, and to also help you cope with those first hours of grieving.

Experts at HELPGUIDE.org explain that the first tip of coping with grief and loss includes support. The author writes, “The single most important factor in healing from loss is having the support of other people. […]Sharing your loss makes the burden of grief easier to carry.”

Once you have someone with you, make those first calls to family and close friends. Additionally, ask those family members and close friends to spread the word, so you can focus on the more critical task of contacting a licensed funeral director who will help lead you through the important choices and steps of funeral arrangements.

When Someone Dies at Home or Work

Obviously, if your loved one passes away at home or work, the first call made goes to 911, or the emergency phone number in your area. If your loved one was under the care of a medical care provider, make sure to notify the doctor. If you’re unsure of the doctor’s name, you can find this information on medical bills or prescription bottles.

Also, if your loved one passed away at work, you’ll need to call the employer immediately to find out more information. Either way, this call is important because you want to find out the employer provides a life insurance policy, and if so, who is the beneficiary and where does he or she need to file the claim. You can also ask about the deceased’s benefits and any pay due. Although this sounds like an unpleasant aspect to deal with right after your loved one dies, it’s critical to the first steps of making arrangements.

Making Arrangements

Once you make the call to the licensed funeral director, you may or may get help with:

– transporting the body;
– arranging the funeral, memorial, and/or burial service;
– selecting a casket, urn, and/or grave marker;
– preparing the obituary;
– offering grief support or directing you to other resources;
– obtaining a death certificate;
– helping you notify the deceased’s employer, attorney, insurance company, and banks.

Also, keep in mind that Funeral.com can assist you with the planning part of this process and alleviate some of these steps. Click here to find out more.

Gathering Important Papers

Gathering important documents after you make those initial calls is the next step in the process. You’ll have to determine if your loved one had a will or trust. Although many families ensure they have an executor, or someone to handle the will or trust after death, you would be surprised at the number of people who don’t. Thus, you may have this unfortunate task added to your list. If you were, in fact, named executor of your loved one’s will, you have more work to do.

If there’s a trust or will, you’ll have to file a probate case with the court. You also must gather birth and marriage certificates, bills, deeds, social security number information, loan payment books,and anything else related to the deceased’s life and personal and business assets. You may want to hire an accountant to help you with this process, so you ensure you have all you need to file a final tax return.

For those of you left with the responsibility of dealing with death without a will or being named executor of an estate, the court will appoint an administrator, which can take some time. If the court assigns you with this title, your responsibilities are similar to that of executor. If you’re lucky and happen to have joint access with the deceased, you can finalize all the details sooner rather than later.

Don’t Handle These Steps Alone

Dealing with death is an unfortunate hassle at times, and we hope this guide along with our visual chart will help you understand this process. We also want you to know Funeral.com is forever friend to your family, so if you need any assistance during this process, please contact us today.

Sources:

“Coping With Grief and Loss: Understanding the Grieving Process”: HELPGUIDE.org: A Trusted Non-Profit Resource.