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FAQs: What Needs to Be Done When Someone Dies 

Moses Estate Planning, PLLC June 29, 2023

The passing of a family member can be a difficult and heartbreaking experience for you and your other loved ones. Generally, dealing with the loss is often challenging and unsettling, even if you were prepared for their passing away. In such situations, you may be confused about the next steps to take. There are several important tasks that you need to carry out while grieving, including getting the death certificate, notifying other family members, making funeral plans, and locating and administering the deceased person's estate plan. 

At Moses Estate Planning, PLLC, we understand how emotional losing a loved one can be. Our compassionate Idaho estate planning attorney is ready to educate and guide you through the various post-death activities. Also, we will offer you the confidence and support you need to deal with the loss and gradually move forward. Our firm serves clients across Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, Los Angeles, California, and throughout Kootenai County. 

What is the first thing I should do when a loved one dies?

When a loved one has been presumed dead, the first crucial step you need to take is to get a legal pronouncement of the person's death. Generally, the hospital, physician, local coroner, medical examiner, or health department has the authority to make a legal pronouncement of death. 

Do I need to get a death certificate?

With the legal pronouncement of death form, you can get a certified or authenticated copy of the death certificate. In addition, the death certificate can be used for various financial and legal purposes, such as to get insurance, Social Security, veteran, pension, or retirement benefits. You will also need the death certificate to start the probate proceedings in the state. 

Furthermore, a copy of the death certificate will be needed to access bank accounts, prepare for the decedent's final arrangements, and administer their estate. Once you obtain the death certificate, you can make several copies for safekeeping. 

Who do I need to notify?

It is important that you notify the deceased person's surviving loved ones, including immediate family members, close relatives, friends, and dependents. Likewise, you can inform the decedent's employers, service providers, financial institutions, coworkers, insurance providers, associates, and Social Security. You may also inform other individuals and entities with personal or professional relationships with the deceased person. 

What about children and pets?

This might be a difficult period for the decedent's surviving minor children, dependents, close relatives, and pets. In fact, coping with the loss might be extremely tough on them. You should provide them with adequate support, attention, and care. Take care of their welfare, offer them temporary accommodation, and make them feel comfortable. Also, you can check for provisions about guardianship, conservatorship, and caretaker for pets in your loved one's will or living trust. 

What funeral arrangements should be made?

Locate the decedent's disposition of the final remains document to find instructions about their favored final arrangements. If such instructions were provided in advance, it is your duty to honor your deceased loved one's wishes and handle their affairs just how they wanted. 

However, if the death happened suddenly or there are no final disposition instructions, you will need to make the funeral and burial plans. Some of the available options for the final disposition of remains include above-ground burial, in-ground burial, cremation, whole-body donation, or organ donation. Choose the right one and organize a final arrangement to honor your deceased loved one's memory. 

How is the will or trust handled?

Locate the deceased person's estate planning documents, including their living trust, last will and testament, and other documents. Identify the named fiduciaries, including trustees, personal representatives, or executors named in the trust or will. Inform them about their expected roles and responsibilities. 

In addition, assist with the trust or estate administration and ensure that your loved one's estate is settled in accordance with their wishes or instructions provided in their estate plan. 

Do I need an attorney?

After a loved one's demise, there are specific post-death tasks that you need to get out of the way. However, handling such tasks on your own while grieving might be quite difficult and overwhelming. Work with an experienced estate administration attorney for detailed legal guidance and to help you make informed decisions. 

Your lawyer can help plan for your deceased loved one's burial, settle their estate and final affairs, and execute other necessary post-death activities efficiently. Most importantly, an attorney can offer you the reliable advocacy, support, and personalized attention you need to overcome such a difficult loss. 

Dependable Legal Assistance

The burden of dealing with funeral plans, final arrangements, and other post-death events can make a loss feel even more painful. At Moses Estate Planning, PLLC, our attorney can help you obtain the death certificate, notify surviving loved ones, make necessary burial arrangements, and help settle your deceased loved one's estate. Our dedicated team will help you perform all required tasks diligently. 

Contact us at Moses Estate Planning, PLLC today to schedule a simple consultation. We can offer you the reliable advocacy and legal counsel you need to navigate every financial and legal issue when a loved one dies. Our firm serves clients across Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, Los Angeles, California, and throughout Kootenai County.