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What to Do Immediately After a Loved One Dies

Posted by Zach Dana on January 17, 2017

Hand checking off boxes

Things to do to handle decedent's estate will much easier

Losing a loved is already hard in itself. It is not just emotionally and mentally burdensome, it is also physically stressful. Many consider to be the most stressful and traumatic time of one’s life. Nobody wants to lose a loved one, but it’s a part of life that we sadly have to face. While you deserve to grieve, you still have other things to attend to immediately after a loved one dies. There’s the funeral, death certificate, will, taxes and so on.

To help you ease the burden in handling all the affairs for the decedent, here’s a simple checklist on what you should to immediately after your loved one dies:

Place of Death

If your loved one has died while in a hospital, it may be less burdensome on your part because their medical personnel will take the lead on conducting the preliminary steps. They will, however, need your assistance on mortuary and funeral matters. However, if the decedent has died at home, the first thing you must do is to immediately notify the police or paramedics, so that the death will be properly pronounced.

Organ Donation

This must be done only in accordance with the express wishes of the decedent, or with the approval and consent of the family. If organs are to be donated, the proper authorities must be called immediately, as time is essential here. The authorities will make proper arrangements to look for potential recipients.

Mortuary, Funeral Home and Cemetery Matters

If there are no existing funeral plans, you must contact a mortuary or funeral home of your choice. The mortuary and funeral home will take care of the funeral or burial instructions, but of course with your help. You will need to provide helpful information regarding burial arrangements and others to help speed up the process, and to ensure that things are done accordingly.

Notifying Immediate Family, Agent and/or Guardian

Notifying immediate family and friends must be done at the earliest time possible after the occurrence of death. This is vital to speeding up the making of funeral and after-burial arrangements. If your hands are full, task another member of the family to do the notification. Aside from families and friends, you must also notify the guardian or agent, if there is any. The guardian, through power of attorney, is responsible for making certain decisions such as on healthcare in behalf of the person. So once that person dies, the power of the guardian also ends; which is why notifying the latter of such death is necessary.

Death Certificate

The death certificate is an important document. It must be obtained as soon as possible. The certificate must be signed by the medical examiner or the attending physician if the person died in a hospital or hospice. After this, the certificate must then be filed in the local registrar. After officially obtaining the death certificate, you can anticipate needing certified copies of it as well, for settling the person’s accounts, etc.

House Insurance After Death

The house insurance after death is one of the important documents you must look through. You need to look into the mortgage paperwork and insurance policy to make sure that the insurance is paid to-date and in effect. The policy needs to be in effect as this is a necessary in protecting the assets of the decedent and administering the latter’s estate. The important thing to do is to contact the insurance company or agent to ensure that everything’s in place. Other personal properties and insurance policies must also be handled.


Things are less burdensome and stressful if the decedent has a will. When the person dies with a will, you will need to file it in the Probate Court where the person lived. You just need to prepare the necessary paperwork and do things in accordance with what the law requires. The handling and disposition of the decedent’s estate will be a lot easier if there’s a will.


Remember that the estate is liable for any outstanding balance owed by the decedent. Family members, as a general rule, shall not be personally responsible for the balances on any account of the decedent. The exception to this rule is when the family member was named as the account holder. This is the reason why the creditors need to be notified of the person’s death. The debt may also be paid off through life insurance, provided that you furnish a death certificate to the insurance company.


The property owned by the decedent must be handled in accordance with the will or the law, in case there is no will. This is necessary for the proper administration and transfer of the properties to the rightful heirs.


You must locate all the necessary documents of the deceased. These documents are the ones needed and are helpful for the settling and administration of the decedent’s estate. Once the documents are located, keep them together and turn them over the proper authorities or persons in charge.

Handling all the affairs after a loved one dies is stressful even to just think about it. This is why it’s important to create a will and an estate plan so that when the time comes, the ones you leave behind will not have a hard time handling all the after-death affairs. Make things easy for your loved ones. Create a will or estate plan now with Dana Law.