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Has a death occurred? Here's what to do when a loved one passes:

Published: June 12, 2020

When a loved one passes, there's many emotions you may be feeling that it seems near impossible to consider what to do next. 

Having to make funeral plans, notify friends and family and start the grieving process can be overwhelming. Even if the death was expected, the pain a loss can bring is devastating.

During this difficult time, there are decisions to be made immediately, arrangements to be coordinated, and a lot of things to be considered for your loved one’s final farewell.

We've put together a list of to-do's to guide you through this process. Just know, we are here to help and if there are any additional questions you have after reading this, please don't hesitate to reach out.

1. Notify proper authorities:

If your loved one has passed away in the comfort of their home, it's important to call the proper authorities such as emergency personnel or hospice. If your loved one has been under hospice care, call the hospice emergency number for immediate response. If the death was unexpected, your local police or county coroner should be contacted before the funeral home may move the deceased to another location.

2. Call the funeral home:

Funeral directors can assist you with proper funeral arrangements. This is imperative in order to facilitate the transfer of your loved one's remains and after-death arrangements. The funeral director should also be notified of any pre-arrangements (if any) or preferences as far as burial or cremation arrangements.

3. File for a death certificate: 

A death certificate is a legal document indicating the cause of death, including other vital statistics pertaining to the deceased, signed by the attending physician and funeral director. Your chosen funeral home will assist you in filing the death certificate with the state and help you obtain certified copies for your records.

These certified copies are important when gaining access to bank accounts and safety deposit boxes, claiming benefits due to the family and transferring or selling ownership of properties.

3. Locate important paperwork:

This includes, but not limited to:

• Will

• Trust

• Safety deposit box

• Cemetery and property deeds

• Insurance policies

• Financial accounts

• Military discharge papers

• Social Security information

• Personal requests and wishes, etc.

After your loved one's final farewell, be sure to also take care of the following:

4. Probate the estate, notify financial institutions, and service providers:

If you are named executor, you should obtain letters testamentary, which provide proof that you have a right to handle the deceased's financial affairs during probate. You may want to consult an estate attorney to help you through the probate process.

You should contact any insurance company where the decedent had a policy. This may include employer-sponsored plans, individually owned policies, mortgage cancellation plans and policies issued by associations, banks and credit cards companies.

Also be sure to contact utility companies and other service providers to change or discontinue service. 

A funeral director will guide you through all these steps and be with you every step of the way. 

No matter if a death is sudden, or if it something that was a long time coming, the loss of a loved one makes us feel emotional and overwhelmed.  No amount of preparation can fully prepare you for the loss of a loved one. 

Just know, we are here for you and to answer any questions you may have during this time of need. Please contact us at any time: 1-570-966-2402

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