What You Need to Do Following the Death of a Loved One

When a loved one passes away, it leaves an emptiness in many people’s lives. There’s a hole that’ll never be filled, but there is some peace that loved ones can find following a death of a friend or family member. There are a few different ways of handling grief and the way you grieve is completely up to you.

Everyone grieves differently and everyone takes their own time getting through the process. After learning your loved one passed away, you may be left wondering what next steps to take. What documentation and paperwork need to be addressed?

How do you begin planning a funeral? How can you ensure you take care of everything needed for your loved one? There’s a lot to consider, and it’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed.

For a full guide on what to do after a loved one passes away, continue reading below. Here’s everything you need to know.

Obtain a Legal Announcement of Death

If there isn’t a doctor present when your loved one passes away, then you’ll need to contact someone who can provide you with a legal announcement of death. When a loved one is under hospice care and passes at home, you can contact the hospice care nurse to have them do this for you. If they pass away not under hospice care, then you’ll need to contact 911 immediately.

The paramedics will come and pronounce the death. You might also want to contact your loved one’s physician who can also provide you with this documentation.

Arrange the Funeral and Services

After a loved one passes away, it’s time to start arranging the funeral and other services. There may be a prepaid burial or list of wishes, so be sure to search for this documentation first before planning the services. You’ll need to go to the mortuary to get the process started.

Be sure to ask someone close to you to go with you for support. This is also the time to prepare the obituary. If they were a member of the military or religious group, then these organizations may have burial benefits to look into.

Be sure to contact these organizations and let them know about the passing.

Collect the Death Certificate

You also need to collect their death certificate. You’ll most likely get this documentation from the funeral home. When you do get their death certificate, make sure to receive several copies of it or have copies made.

You’re going to need multiple copies to send to different insurers, government agencies, and financial institutions. It’s always better to have more copies than needed just in case it’s needed unexpectedly.

Contact an Attorney

Don’t forget to contact an attorney as well. You may need an attorney for a few different reasons. For example, you may need a wrongful death attorney if you believe you lost your loved one due to the negligence of someone or else or preventable circumstances.

You should also reach out to an estate attorney to learn how to properly transfer assets. An attorney can help navigate you through many different processes that take place after death.

Reach Out to All Accounts

There will also be a few accounts that you’ll need to reach out to as well. For example, you may need to speak with an accountant to ensure there isn’t a type of tax return needed. You should also contact their bank to find their different bank accounts and safe deposit boxes.

You’ll also need to consider contacting a life insurance agent, the social security administration, utility, companies, the IRS, and more. Now is the time to let all accounts know that your loved one has passed away and start getting things in order.

Allow Yourself Time to Grieve

There are a lot of things that must get done after a loved one passes away. You’ll have your hands full getting everything taken care of, but don’t forget to allow yourself time to grieve. Give yourself time to feel however it is you feel.

Remember that everyone grieves differently, so be easy on yourself. Allow yourself to feel and understand that grieving a loved one’s death takes time. There will be painful reminders that might hit you when least expected.

Smells and sounds might trigger memories, but as time passes on, you’ll be able to move on a little bit at a time. It’s also important to keep in mind that moving on doesn’t mean you need to forget your loved one. Instead, moving on means finding a way to get through life each and every day with the pain of this loss.

The pain will become easier to carry, but your love for this person will never lessen.

Find a Support System

Don’t hesitate to find a support system to help you through the loss. It’s not uncommon for many to distance themselves from others while suffering from a loss. However, leaning on a strong support system is much more beneficial.

Turn to friends and family members and those who are good listeners. Even if you’re unable to talk about the loss, simply being in good company or around those who are also grieving from the same loss can help. There are also support groups, counselors, and therapists who can also help you get through this difficult time.

When a Loved One Passes, Follow These Steps

Losing a loved one isn’t something anyone ever wants to experience. However, there will come a time when a person must leave their loved ones behind. After losing a loved one, be sure to follow the steps listed in this guide above and never stop celebrating their life.

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