What to do when a Loved One Dies


It’s an inevitable part of life when we lose people that are important to us, but it’s not always straightforward to know what to do after they have passed away.

There are several steps to take and it’s likely that it’ll become a little overwhelming and at points, likely that you might forget plans that need to be made. It’s entirely understandable and will largely depend on the support network that you have around you. Make sure that you accept any assistance that is offered to you, to help ease the burden on yourself.

It’s a stressful and emotional time, so it’s important that you go through the process as smoothly as you can.

Get a legal pronouncement of death

Usually this will be automatically done if there was a doctor present at the time of death. If that’s not the case and the death occurred at home or elsewhere, then you will need to call 911 for the death to be pronounced in the emergency room by a doctor.

If your loved one dies under hospice care, then the death can be declared by the nurse on duty, who can then help arrange for the body to be transported to a mortuary.

Notify the appropriate people

You will need to notify the deceased registered doctor or the county coroner. If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to notify their family and friends and pass on the sad news. Depending on the amount of people that need contacting, it is often wise to ask others to help notify other people who will want to know.

Think about their home situation

There are many variables that can come into play here and it’s likely that any dependents such as children, will be high up on the list of priorities. However, don’t forget about any other types of dependents that the deceased may have had, such as pets. They will need to be rehomed as soon as possible, or at least looked after by you in the interim.

It’s a good idea to keep an eye on their home while their will and financial affairs are sorted out. Go through and clear out any food, collect their mail and water any plants that may be in the property.

Arrange the funeral service

You will need to find out what their wishes were regarding a burial or cremation. The funeral home will largely guide you through the process, where you will need to decide the particulars such as choosing caskets made from steel or ones that are made of wood.

Contact their employer

It’s often not the first thing that people will think of, but if they were still in employment then you will need to get in touch with their employer to let them know. This is for the obvious reason that they will be expecting them to turn up for work, but also to request information about the benefits that they had in place, what pay they may still be due and whether or not they had a life insurance policy.

Obtain death certificates

These are usually available from the funeral home and you will need them for proving their death to government agencies, insurance companies and financial institutions.

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