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What to do when a loved one dies

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The death of a loved one, a family member or a close friend, is a painful reality we must face at some point. We can’t really plan for it emotionally, and the tasks and decisions we must also make can be overwhelming. All we can do is make ourselves aware. Know what to do, so your time for grieving is not lost or compromised.

I know… this is not a comforting subject. But these are the…Things to do When a Loved One Dies


  1. Call 911; or if loved one was in hospice, call the hospice nurse or county coroner.
  2. Notify all close family members
  3. Arrange for immediate care of children or dependents of the deceased.
  4. Arrange for care of pets.
  5. Secure the deceased’s home.
  6. Make arrangements for organ donation, if applicable.

Next Concerns

  1. Make funeral or cremation arrangements pursuant to the loved one’s wishes or directives.
  2. Arrange for utilities to be paid.
  3. Inform the person’s employer.
  4. Search for loved one’s important papers including a will; gather mail daily or forward to another address.
  5. Obtain death certificate from funeral home or county health department.
  6. Start the probate process with family handling it or seek the advice of a probate attorney; or if a trust exists, make arrangements for the administration of the deceased’s trust. Even if you do not hire an attorney, consult one for advice on proper steps to take.
    Port Legal is here for you. Please do not hesitate to give us a call. We never charge for initail consultation. Visit our Contact Page.

Third Level Concerns

  1. Have police drive by the deceased’s home occasionally if no one will be staying there.
  2. Apply for life insurance, social security, employer, military or other benefits available.
  3. Stop health and life insurance payments. Check for any auto withdraws from bank accounts.
  4. Cancel credit cards, subscriptions, notify credit reporting agencies, board of elections and state BMV.
  5. Understand that Powers of Attorney dissolve upon the loved one’s death, so DO NOT use any POA to make any financial arrangements.
  6. Take care of plants and throw out any food which may spoil.

Needless to say, there’s a lot to think about… a lot of details that will confront you at a very difficult time. Hopefully at a time when you will be counted on, knowing the details and the order of priorities will make this time a little easier for you and everyone around you.

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