What To Do

This could be the most important peace of mind you can give to your family.

What to Do

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WHAT TO DO…

The death of a loved one, whether it’s something that you have been preparing for or whether it’s totally unexpected, is never an easy task to deal with.  One of the biggest questions when someone dies is “now what?”  Below is a list of things that one should do when the death of a loved one has occurred.

  1. If the individual dies in a hospital or hospice, the medical personnel will take the lead on "next steps" although they will want to know which mortuary or funeral home should be called at the appropriate time. If the individual dies at home, call the paramedics or the police so that the proper pronouncement of death can be made.
  2. Notify family and friends. You may want to consider having family members contact others to save yourself some time on the phone during a stressful period.  Also, notify the Clergy. Contact the deceased's Pastor, Rabbi, Priest or other designated religious leader if there is one in order to facilitate counseling for family members and members of the deceased's congregation, synagogue or parish. They will also be involved in making arrangements for any final religious services.
  3. Contact a funeral home concerning burial or cremation arrangements. Determine if the Decedent belonged to a burial or memorial society that may make special arrangements for the funeral, such as military honor guards.
  4. If a doctor is not present, notify a doctor or coroner in order to obtain a death certificate.  Typically, you will need multiple copies of an original death certificate for taking care of the Decedant’s final wishes & estate (if you are already working with a funeral home, the funeral director should be able to assist you in making arrangements for this). 
  5. Handle the care of any dependents and/or pets
  6. Prepare an obituary
  7. Find important documents – this can be a very daunting, exhaustive, & frustrating task.  This is where This Should Help will be of great assistance to you.
  8. Call the Decedent’s employer
  9. Notify the local office of the Social Security Administration
  10. Don’t be hesitant to accept a helping hand.  This is a trying time for all and there will more than likely be an outpouring of support from family & friends.  Many will ask if there is anything that they can do to help (although not all of them may be sincere in asking), and would be greatful for an opportunity to assist, even if in a trivial way.  You have enough to worry about & take care of at this time, so when someone asks if there is anything that they can do to help, perhaps one of the following would be one less thing that you have to worry about:
    1. answering the phone
    2. collecting mail
    3. caring for pets
    4. staying at home during the wake, funeral, &/or memorial services to guard against break ins that commonly occur during that time
    5. organizing food for family & friends for after the services

 

While this list has been compiled from subject matter experts from around the country, it may not be all inclusive to your specific needs & situation.  You should consult with a local subject matter expert in your area (attorney, funeral director, etc.) for more detailed information & protocols/procedures.