37 Steps to Take When Someone Dies

When a loved one dies, it’s hard to know where to start in managing the necessary details. Consider using this checklist to help you through the process.

37 Arrangements to Make When a Loved One Dies

  1. Check ListOrgan donation
  2. Mortuary
  3. Family members
  4. Friends
  5. Funeral arrangements
  6. Burial/cremation arrangements
  7. Decedent’s physicians
  8. Church, temple or mosque
  9. Business associates and/or employer
  10. Obituary notice to local newspaper.  Include church or other service information.
  11. Organizations in which decedent was a member should be notified e.g., AAA, Garden Club, etc.
  12. Veterans Administration,  800–827-1000
  13. Decedent’s attorney
  14. Check decedent’s e-mail account for any recent activity requiring action e.g., recent purchase orders that may need to be canceled, recent e-mails waiting for a reply.
  15. Successor Trustee of Trust and/or Executor of Will
  16. Examine all of decedent’s papers to determine whether other actions need to be taken, and whether other businesses or individuals need to be notified.
  17. Social Security Administration,  800–772-1213
  18. If the decedent had a safe deposit box, an authorized person with a key to the box should inventory the contents.
  19. Keep valuables in a safe location
  20. Important documents, such as Will And Trust documents, need to be provided to the Trustee or Executor and safeguarded
  21. Ensure decedent’s vehicle(s) are stored in a legal and safe manner.  Keys to decedent’s vehicles need to be located and safeguarded.
  22. If decedent had investment account(s), IRAs, Roth IRAs or a pension plan(s) in his/her name, notify those fund managers
  23. Contact Insurance carriers:
    • Health/Dental
    • Life
    • Auto
    • Accident
  24. Decedent’s Banks, financial institutions, credit card companies and brokerage companies
  25. Check bank account statements and credit card statements for anything with automatic withdrawals that may need to be canceled.
  26. Cancel debit and credit cards
  27. Utility companies e.g., gas, electric, water and telephone companies should be notified to whom to send bills, or whether service should be canceled.
  28. Postal service should be notified where to forward mail
  29. Cancel newspaper and magazine subscriptions
  30. Cancel club and gym memberships
  31. Order sufficient death certificates from the mortuary to give to financial institutions with whom decedent had an account.
  32. A tax return will need to be filed for the year of decedent’s death, so continue to keep records for the tax return.
  33. Determine what actions, if any, should be taken with regard to decedent’s social media account. There may be someone the decedent has personally chosen to handle this arrangement.
  34. When making distributions to beneficiaries, be sure to get and keep a receipt.
  35. Discuss with your attorney how and when to transfer title to real estate and other assets out of decedent’s name.
  36. File the decedent’s Will in the Will Drawer at the appropriate courthouse. In San Diego, the proper courthouse is in the Madge Bradley Building, 1409 4th Avenue, Probate Services, 3rd Floor, San Diego, CA 92101.
  37. Request a copy of the deceased person’s credit report from one of the following credit reporting agencies, and use it as a checklist to contact the decedent’s creditors:
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374800–685-1111
P.O. Box 2104
Allen, TX 75013

While nothing can ease the pain of a loved one’s passing, taking positive action can make the process easier.

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