Death is never a pleasant experience — and when you are responsible for disposing of a loved one’s remains, the emotional burden makes it twice as hard. Don’t worry about what you need to do if a family member or friend dies — this checklist will make sure that nothing is forgotten.
call the doctor — the doctor will probably call the coroner for you
try not to move anything until an official pronouncement is made
make note of the time of death — as near as you can
contact friends or family for support during this difficult time
keep a running list of people to thank — for help, support, flowers, etc.
contact the local Registry Office with temporary death certificate
submit the address, complete name, and date and place of birth and death
you will receive a standard death certificate
required to go through probate, file insurance claims, collect pensions, etc.
you will receive a disposal certificate for burial or cremation
collect up the will, any estate documents, and insurance policies
get a copy of the death certificate from the attending doctor, coroner, or funeral home
have an attorney review the will to determine if you must go through probate process
decide on a funeral home and talk to the director about the arrangements
locate the person’s burial instructions and last wishes
determine if the burial or cemetery plot has been pre-paid
choose a location, date, and time for the services
ask for itemized list of funeral and burial costs and what they cover
determine if you want ashes scattered or in a container — for a cremation
let mourners know if they should send flowers or charitable donations
determine if you want a “viewing” before hand — open or closed casket
decide on the prayers, music, and structure of the service
make preparations for food and beverages after the service
use the person’s address book to call friends and family personally
contact the person’s employer and co-workers
place an obituary that town’s local newspaper
inform any governmental agencies — social security, IRS, military, etc.
notify any insurance agencies or financial institutions
contact the person’s attorney and executor of the will
cancel utility services
notify the post office and have mail re-directed
cancel rental lease or assume mortgage payments
all financial decisions must be made by the executor of the will
“grant of probate” allows payment of any debts still left open
find out who beneficiaries are on any insurance policies or other accounts
these items are not considered part of the estate
estate debts must be paid before inheritance is given out
remainder of assets will then be distributed according to the will
survivors are not held personally liable for the deceased’s debts
all decisions must be made by spouse or closest other relative
need to contact an attorney for advice and guidance throughout process
can get the necessary forms at the local probate office
will need to determine what assets the person owned and any debts owed
return required forms to probate with standard death certificate
get Letters of Administration from probate to distribute the person’s assetsClick here for reuse options!
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Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream. Learn more at and RamonaCreel.com.
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