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Has your loved one already been taken to a funeral home?

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Today:

Today:

Bookmark this page

In order to access your checklist in the future, we recommend bookmarking this page. You can then revisit it at any time.

Notify the executor

Contact the executor to notify them of the death and let them know you’re doing some initial planning.

Notify the executor

Contact your loved one's county probate court to find out if they designated an executor. Then contact the executor to notify them of the death.

County probate court

Contact family & friends

Contact a few of your closest family and friends to tell them about the death. In order to keep everyone on the same page, we recommend sharing this website with them.

Contact family & friends

Contact a few of your closest family and friends to tell them about the death. In order to keep everyone on the same page, we recommend sharing this website with them.

Contact a funeral home

Contact a local funeral home to pick up your loved one’s body and hold it until the burial or cremation.

Contact the coroner

Depending on the circumstances, you may need to report your loved one's death to the county coroner. Check the link below to see if this applies to your situation.

Local county coroner

Arrange for dependent care

If nobody has custody over your loved one’s dependent(s), arrange for their temporary care.

Arrange for dependent care

Ask close family members if your loved one had any dependents. If nobody has custody over them, arrange for their temporary care.

Arrange for pet care

Arrange for temporary care of your loved one’s pet(s). Ask friends or family for help if you are unable to.

Arrange for pet care

If you’re unsure whether or not your loved one owned any pets, go to their residence and find out. If there are any, arrange for their temporary care.

Within 3 days:

Notify employers

Call your loved one’s past employers to notify them of the death and to request info about any benefits.

Notify employers

Find out if your loved one was ever employed, then call those employers to notify them of the death and to request info about any benefits.

Contact Veterans' Affairs

Contact the US Department of Veteran’s Affairs to see if your loved one is eligible for burial benefits.

Department of Veteran's Affairs

Contact Veterans' Affairs

Find out if your loved one was a veteran by asking family & friends and searching their documents for a military ID or DD Form 214. Then call the US Department of Veteran’s Affairs to see if your loved one is eligible for burial benefits.

Department of Veteran's Affairs

Contact religious organization

Contact your loved one’s religious organization to see if they can offer any funeral assistance.

Contact religious organization

First, find out if your loved on was a member of any religious organizations. Then contact the organization(s) to see if they can offer any funeral assistance.

Contact civic organization

Contact your loved one’s civic organization to see if they can offer any assistance or benefits for the funeral.

Contact civic organization

First, find out if your loved on was a member of any civic organizations. Then contact the organization(s) to see if they can offer any funeral assistance.

Contact fraternal organization

Contact your loved one’s fraternal organization to see if they can offer any assistance or benefits for the funeral.

Contact fraternal organization

First, find out if your loved on was a member of any fraternal organizations. Then contact the organization(s) to see if they can offer any funeral assistance.

Plan the funeral

Now contact your funeral home in order to set a time to discuss the funeral arrangements.

Choose a cemetery

If you’re interested in a burial, you’ll need to choose a cemetery.

Order a headstone

If you’re interested in a burial, you’ll also need to order a headstone. Feel free to browse the collection of Clear Stream Monuments, from which I will receive a small commission. These commissions keep my website online and free to use.

Clear Stream Monuments

Secure home

Make sure your loved one’s home is locked and secure. Remove all perishables and valuables from the house.

Secure home

If you’re unsure whether or not your loved one owned a home, first ask the executor. Then search for mortgage bills, homeowners insurance documents, and property tax receipts. Make sure that the home is locked and secure. Remove all perishables and valuables.

Secure vehicle

Ensure that your loved one’s vehicle is parked and locked in a safe and legal area.

Secure vehicle

If you’re unsure whether or not your loved one owned any vehicles, first ask the executor. Then search for vehicle insurance papers and car payment bills. Ensure that it is parked and locked in a safe and legal area.

Within 10 days:

Order death certificates

If your funeral director hasn’t already helped you with this, you’ll need to order some death certificates. For now we recommend ordering 0.

Vital records office

Contact probate lawyer

Contact a probate lawyer to help you work through the legal issues of transferring your loved one’s assets. I recommend finding a local attorney via LegalMatch, from which I'll receive a small commission to help keep this site online.

LegalMatch

Contact tax preparer

Contact a tax preparer to help you figure out all estate taxes and paperwork.

File the will

Make sure the will gets filed at your loved one’s county probate court.

County probate court

File the will

If you’re unsure whether or not your loved one had a will, ask the executor or contact the county court and ask for assistance. If you do find a will, make sure it gets filed at the same county court.

County probate court

Close bank account

Contact your loved one’s bank to ask for instructions on how to access the account. For this you will likely need a probate attorney.

Close bank account

If you’re unsure whether or not your loved one had any bank accounts, ask the executor, search through paperwork for any financial records, or contact the state’s unclaimed property office. Accessing the account will likely require a probate attorney.

Unclaimed property office

Access safe deposit box

Contact the location of the safe deposit box to ask for instructions on how to access it. For this you will likely need a probate attorney.

Access safe deposit box

If you’re unsure whether or not your loved one had any safe deposit boxes, ask the executor, search through paperwork for any financial records, or contact the state’s unclaimed property office. Accessing the box will likely require a probate attorney.

Unclaimed property office

Cancel credit cards

Call the customer service phone number on the back of each card, then ask for instructions on how to close the account.

Cancel credit cards

If you’re unsure whether or not your loved one had any credit cards, search around for them. Then call the customer service phone number on the back of each card and ask for instructions on how to close the account.

Access investment account

Find the designated beneficiary, then have them call your loved one’s stockbroker for instructions on how to access the account.

Access investment account

If you’re unsure whether or not your loved one had any investment accounts, ask the executor, search through paperwork for any financial records, or contact the state’s unclaimed property office. Accessing the account will likely require a probate attorney.

Unclaimed property office

Contact life insurance company

Have the designated beneficiary contact your loved one’s life insurance company in order to claim any benefits.

Contact life insurance company

If you’re unsure whether or not your loved one had a life insurance policy, ask the executor, search for any insurance records, or contact the state’s unclaimed property office. Then have the designated beneficiary contact the insurance company in order to claim any benefits.

Unclaimed property office

Cancel Medicare

If your loved one was enrolled in Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage (Part D), Medicare Advantage, or Medigap, you’ll need to cancel each plan by by contacting the phone number listed on each membership card.

Cancel Medicare

If you’re unsure whether or not your loved one was receiving Medicare benefits, search for a Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage (Part D), Medicare Advantage, or Medigap membership card. Then cancel the insurance by contacting the phone number listed on each card.

Contact Social Security

Any surviving dependents may be elligible for social security survivor benefits. Have them contact the Social Security service office to apply.

Social Security office

Contact Social Security

Any surviving dependents may be elligible for social security survivor benefits. Contact your local security service office to apply.

Social Security office

Final considerations:

Contact grief counselor

Consider contacting a grief counselor to help you cope with this major change in your life.

Shut down utilities

Contact water, gas, and electric utility companies and tell them to shut down service to your loved one’s house.

Stop incoming mail

Contact the post office to discontinue or redirect your loved one’s incoming mail.

Post Office

© 2017 Ethan Dirks