Thursday, January 21, 2016

Guide For When Someone Dies

Whether it is a parent, spouse or another close family member, when someone close to you dies it can be a very overwhelming and confusing time for those who are left behind.  Because of that, it can be helpful to have a simple set of checklists that cover most of the things you will need to do to get through the first few days.

While nothing can make it easier to survive the trauma of a death, it can at least be reassuring to have a list of the specific tasks you need to complete.  The information in this post was provided by a local mortuary and, although the list is lengthy, I thought it was worth summarizing here.

Who You Should Notify When Someone Dies (Some Should be Notified Immediately; You Can Wait a Few Days for Others)

If it happens at home, call the deceased's doctor and/or the coroner
Contact the next of kin; try not to leave anyone out
Employer, if they are still working
Landlord, if they are renting
Utility companies
Attorney, accountant, banker
Executor of the estate
Tell Social Security to stop payments
Department of Veteran's Affairs, if appropriate
Insurance agents
Church or place of worship
Clubs and organizations

How to Make Funeral Arrangements

Contact funeral home or mortuary
Choose clothing for the deceased
Select clergy or officiates
Write obituary and submit to newspaper
Plan service - clergy, eulogy, music, etc.
Order death certificates - You will need several

Information Needed for Your Funeral Home Appointment

Birth date and birthplace of deceased
Citizenship status
Religious name (if any)
Social Security Number
Parent's names and birthplaces
Occupation and Title
Marital Status
Veteran's discharge papers or claim number
Recent Photo
Pre-arrangement paperwork
Cemetery Lot information

Other Documents You Will Need

Will and Trust documents
Social Security card or number
Marriage license
Citizenship papers
Disability and pension claims
Veteran's discharge certificate (DD214)
Safe Deposit box information

Check On the Following Possible Benefits Heirs May Receive

Life and casualty insurance
Social Security
Benefits from unions, fraternities, military
Employee benefits including owed vacation pay, death benefits, retirement plans, and final wages
Debt cancellation on credit card balances
Refunds on insurance or cancelled subscriptions and services

Final Expenses to Anticipate

Funeral services
Casket, vault, burial plot, mausoleum or niche; or cremation
Florist, musician, clergy
Transportation for family and relatives to services
Reception food for guests
Debts or final bills of the deceased
Any additional fees

While this is a lengthy list, when the time comes and you are responsible for handling the death of a relative, it is a list you will want to have handy.  You may want to print out a few copies and keep them with your will and other documents.

Source:  This checklist is based on one provided by Fairhaven Memorial Park & Mortuary in Orange County, California and published in the 2015 edition of "Answers," which is published by the Council on Aging.

If you are interested in additional helpful information about funeral planning, financial planning, medical issues, where to retire or changing family relationships, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional articles.

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  1. It is quite a list! If we all were to put together as much of this information as we can as it relates to ourselves, it would be extremely helpful to our survivors.

  2. Whether it is a parent, spouse or another close family member, when someone close to you dies it can be a very overwhelming and confusing time for those who are left behind. playard by thebabyguides


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