The death of a loved one is one of the most painful experiences you would have to go through, even for once in your life. Therefore, acknowledging the basic checklist of what to do immediately after someone dies in advance will help you steer clear of possible confusions that may arise in such an unexpected situation.
This experience may arrive unexpectedly or even as expected. However, you must prepare yourself emotionally to continue with the funeral arrangements and follow the required legal process after death. You can choose a funeral director immediately to get advice and learn the law and legal procedures that you may have to follow after losing a loved one.
It is typical to be uncertain of what steps you need to consider and what order to follow in arranging a funeral. Here is a step-by-step guideline and a brief what to do when someone dies checklist that you may need to go through beforehand. Note: Many of the steps should be taken charge of by the executor of the person’s estate. If this is not you, we advise you to work with the person who is.
Immediate Actions You Need To Take After Someone Dies
1. Call for Help
If you are the one to find that your loved one has passed away, immediately call for an emergency service. Then call the closest family members and get their support. However difficult it would be to pass on the message, make sure you contact who could handle the news. Offer emotional support as necessary, but keep your mind clear to move forward with the funeral procedure.
2. Get a Legal Pronouncement of Death
The first step in dealing with a loss of a loved one is getting the medical certificate of cause of death declared by a medical professional. If your loved one died suddenly or died of natural cause at home, you need to dial 111 immediately and call for emergency service or ambulance. If the diseased was already in the hospital or under the supervision of medical care, they would handle the necessary procedures.
The death certificate will not be issued until the legal pronouncement is released. Supposing the cause of death is unknown or seems suspicious, the doctor in charge will contact the coroner’s office for further investigation. In such a situation, an interim death certificate will be issued to prepare to proceed with the funeral plans.
3. (If Applicable) Arrange for Organ Donation
Right after the death of your loved one, check their driver’s license, advance directive, or the living will to check whether they have got registered for any organ donations. If so, you have to inform the medical professionals in charge without a delay as organs have to be collected within a short period after death.
In the meantime, you will have to inform some friends, relatives, employers, and co-workers of the diseased and ask them to pass on the message of the death to the others. Posting the message in a group will save your energy and will be more effective than communicating the message individually.
Remember to make temporary arrangements to care for any people or pets your loved one had been responsible for until long-term solutions are arranged.
4. Registration of Death - Getting the Death Certificate
Usually, you need a death certificate to arrange a funeral. When you receive the death pronouncement by the medical professional, you will have to go to the registrar's office and submit the medical certificate of Cause of Death to the registrar of Births, Deaths, and Marriages. Remember that it is required to register the death within five or eight working days.
Bring the birth certificate, marriage certificate (if applicable), driving license, passport, proof of address, NHS medical card (if they had) of the diseased to provide personal details to the registrar office. The information usually required is the date of birth, full name, address, date and location of death, occupation, civil status and if the loved one had been receiving a pension or any other benefit payments.
After submitting these details, the registrar will issue a death certificate and a certificate for burial or cremation.
If you need further advice, you can ask your respective funeral director for help in registering the death.
5. Family Meeting to Discuss the Funeral Plan – Burial or Cremation
As a certificate for burial or cremation will be issued along with the Death Certificate, you can resume the funeral arrangement. Check if the loved one has left any written record for funeral instruction or if they have made payments to any funeral home or cemetery.
If there are none, you will have to arrange a short family meeting to discuss whether it has to be a burial or a cremation. Through such a short discussion, you would be able to fathom what the funeral should look like and decide on an affordable budget as well.
6. Choosing a Funeral Director
Funeral directors will assist you in planning the funeral and arranging a memorable farewell to your loved one. In choosing a funeral director, reserve an hour or two to look for the best funeral directors or independent funeral directors near you through the funeral guide.
Ask for a quotation from the funeral director for the below mentioned. Compare their prices and services to suit your requirement and budget
- The coffin
- Transferring and caring for the deceased before the funeral
- The hearse to the nearest cemetery or crematorium
- All the other arrangements and required paperwork
- The funeral director’s services
Check reviews and ask for the payment options, whether it is a prepaid funeral, before choosing a funeral director to save your time and money. Getting help from a funeral director will save you energy to cope with your emotions and have time for you to spend the final hours with your loved one without any other burdens.
7. Arranging Funeral Plan
Considering the religious beliefs and customs followed by the loved one, you can decide the funeral to be a cremation ceremony or a burial. Your funeral director will help you find an appropriate funeral home or directly contact a cremation company. If the diseased or the family wishes for cremation, choosing a cremation company would be apt as they provide all the necessitated cremation services as required.
If your loved one is a body donor or the family wishes to donate the body of your loved one to an organization such as university medical programs, your funeral director will directly contact the required full-body donation organization.
Find a family member or a close friend to write an obituary and thank you notes. And follow the after-death checklist of responsibilities after death.
What to Do After the Funeral?
1. Get Bereavement Support
Take time to grieve and mourn the death of your loved one. It is better to get bereavement support to recover from the pain of loss. Many people misunderstand bereavement as depression. Yet, with professional support, you can heal your pain step by step. There are many bereavement support groups near you to help the family or friends of the diseased recover from the pain.
Bereavement support for a child is advocated in case of the death of the child’s family member or a closest friend. In a loss of a child, parents would need bereavement support to recover from the loss.
2. Laws and Advice to consider after the funeral
Among the tons of things, here is a brief checklist you need to tick off.
- Take at least 10 certified death certificates to present to the agencies.
- Notify the death with the government agencies such as The Social Security Administration, Bank and Financial companies, Life insurance companies, financial advisers, Credit agencies
- Make an inventory of the assets and track them down
- Contact a CPA to file a tax return
- Cancel all the unnecessary services
- Cancel driver’s license
- Memorialize social media accounts and close the email accounts
Life after the death of someone you love is not easy, but take strength and ensure everything is taken care of perfectly to honour their memory.