What do you need to do when someone dies?
Notify the authorities if it was unexpected at home or in the community
Notify the persons doctor or hospice team
- If the person lived in a long term care facility they will have a procedure that they will follow.
Arrange for any organ donation
Notify immediate family members directly and ask them to share the information
- Don’t use social media as a way to share the news with close family members-they may not read the information before someone else is offering their condolences
Look for documents that have information on funeral and burial instructions as well as life insurance.
Contact the funeral home and cemetery
- Arranging a funeral is a business transaction.
- The person signing the contract for the funeral services is legally responsible for the cost of those services.
- Unless your name is also on the account, you can not access the deceased bank account.
- Life insurance is paid to the person who was named as the beneficiary. It is NOT related to who paid for the funeral.
- Beneficiary information is confidential and the life insurance company might not be able to tell you who the beneficiary is if it is not you.
- If the person arranging the funeral services is the named beneficiary they may assign all or some of the life insurance proceeds to be paid to the funeral home.
The funeral home should assist with obtaining the certified death certificate.
- The life insurance company and financial institutions will need an original certified death certificate-get several
Make arrangements for the headstone.
Notify the following of the death:
Social Security 1-800-772-1213
Banks, Financial Institutions, Credit Card Companies (Certified Death Certificate may be required)
Insurance companies (Life, Health and Property insurers)
Postal Service to forward mail
Take the Will to the Probate Court
- A Will is not a valid document until it has been “probated” or presented before a probate judge.
- Powers of Attorney and Guardianship authorities ended at the time of death.
- An Executor of the Estate is the person named by the Probate Court to administer the Will.
If there is No Will go to the Probate Court.
- The probate court will appoint an Executor based on State law.
Notify the public utilities including cell phone providers.
Update beneficiary information on survivors life insurance.
Update Property Deeds for the home and vehicles.
Update or close email accounts and social media.
Why Should I Care?
Death involves a lot of work.
It’s easy to overlook important steps that can have a big impact on the future of your loved ones.