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What to do Following a Family Death

by Purva Jagtap
What to do Following a Family Death

A family death is a challenging situation, both emotionally and logistically. Their friends and family must not only processing their loss, but the individual leaves behind a whole life that now must be closed out.

The scale of the responsibilities left to the survivors can often take them by surprise. To help navigate this process, here are a few key points to address in the days and weeks that follow.

  1. Get a Legal Pronouncement of Death

When someone dies, the first matter that you need to attend to is having the death legally declared. This is the first step that you will need to take before you can get an official death certificate, which you’ll need to make final preparations.

If your loved one passed in a hospital, a nursing home, or under hospice care, the staff will attend to this for you. But if the passed at home or elsewhere, you’ll need to bring in a medical professional to make the declaration.

Call 9/11 as soon as the death occurs. The deceased will be taken to an emergency room where their passing can be formally declared.

  1. Notify Friends and Family

It falls to you to determine how to proceed with notifying loved ones.

Making individual phone calls or visits would be the most personal way to do it but can be exhausting. For that reason, sending out a group text or email may be more practical.

Alternatively, if they were active in the church or a community group, you can notify them. More often than not, they’ll be happy to put out a notification to the community on your behalf.

  1. Make Final Arrangements

In the best case, you will have had the opportunity to discuss funeral services with your loved one prior to their passing, or they will have left instructions with their last will and testament.

But if the death was sudden, it’s not uncommon for there to be no plan in place. In this case, calling a family meeting will let you decide together how best to proceed.

While going through this process, it’s a good idea to research the cost of funeral services in your region to make the best decision you can. If your loved one was a veteran, contacting the VA can give you access to financial aid or funeral services.

  1. Manage Their Property and Affects

Your need to secure your family member’s home and property following their passing. This includes securing valuables, making arrangements for pets, and arranging for their mail to be forwarded.

During this time, you can start taking stock of mundane items that you can dispose of. Perishables are an obvious one, and selling off used medical equipment can help offset funeral expenses while you await a life insurance payout.

Handling a Family Death With Grace

Sadly, the loss of loved ones is a fact of life. Following a family death, the best thing you can do is to honor their memory as best as you are able. While making final arrangements is the last thing you want to think about, but they’re vital steps in giving your loved one a dignified farewell.

In the months that follow, you’ll undergo an adjustment period. Financial and legal matters will need to be settled, and lifestyle changes may need to be made. To help you during this period, keep up with our latest business, financial, and lifestyle guides.

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