Immediate need Post Death

Immediate Need Post Death

When a Death Occurs

Upon the passing of a beloved family member, individuals are frequently consumed by grief, making it challenging to effectively handle the necessary tasks to commemorate the departed and address their affairs. Often, individuals find themselves confronting these matters for the first time amidst their grief. Still certain responsibilities demand immediate attention. 

What needs to be taken care of when someones dies? 

When someone passes away, there are various tasks to manage, ranging from simple ones like redirecting mail to complex ones like transferring assets. It’s important to note that you don’t have to tackle everything immediately or by yourself. Some tasks require immediate attention, while others can be initiated a few days later. Less urgent matters can be addressed over the subsequent weeks and months. If possible, share responsibilities with family and friends to ease the burden and expedite the completion of tasks.

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What to do right after someone dies

The tasks to handle after someone passes away can be extensive, with varying degrees of urgency. Here are the initial actions you should take when someone dies.

Notifying Authorities:

    • If the death occurs at home, call emergency services or the local police to report the death. 
    • if the death occurs in a hospital or other care facility, the staff will guide you through the necessary procedures.

Obtain a Death Certificate:

    • You’ll need to obtain an official death certificate. This is usually handled by the funeral director or local vital records office. 

Find out if the deceased made after-death plans

    • If your loved one planned for what should happen after they pass away, like pre-paying for cremation or a burial plot, that’s ideal. If they left a letter of instruction, even without formal arrangements, that’s helpful too. If you find their estate planning paperwork (trust or will) during this time, ensure it reaches the successor trustee or executor, especially if it’s not you. If there are no formal instructions, talk to family and friends to learn about any conversations they had regarding their wishes. Proceed based on the information you gather.

Make arrangements for the body

    • This step depends on your loved one’s wishes or your decision for them. Some have specific preferences, while others leave it to trusted family or friends. For instance, they may be taken to a crematorium, funeral home, or medical institution if they were an organ donor or planned to donate their body to science.

Arrange care for children and pets

    • If your loved one was a single parent or both parents passed away, find their guardianship plans. Arrange a temporary caregiver for the children until the guardian is notified or can pick them up. Also, make plans for pets, like finding a foster until a permanent home is arranged.

Contact Family and Friends

    • Inform close family and friends about the death. Consider enlisting the help of a trusted friend or family member to assist you during this time.

Notify Employer

    • Make it a priority to inform your loved one’s employer about the death. Inquire about any remaining paychecks and check if the company provides life insurance for which you can file a claim. Arrange to collect your loved one’s personal belongings from their workplace as well.

What to do within a few days of someone’s death 

After addressing the immediate tasks following a death, it’s time to plan a memorial, funeral, or celebration of life, among other things. Although the specific next steps may differ for each individual, here is a list of typical tasks to undertake shortly after someone passes away.

Find end-of-life paperwork

    • Organized end-of-life documents from your loved one may simplify the process. Locate their trust, will, and papers with account details and passwords. Regularly consult these during estate settlement, assessing what’s present and noting anything missing. A trust might be referenced in the home deed at the recorder’s office. Refer to our end-of-life planning checklist for guidance on other essential documents.

Make memorial & funeral arrangements

Your loved one might have expressed or documented their post-death wishes. If not, it’s now a time for family discussion and decision-making. Key questions to consider:


    • Placing the obituary in the local paper or online?
    • Who will write it? Below are some main points to cover in an obituary:
          •  The person’s full name
          • date of birth and death 
          • Age when they died

Note that you can create an obituary here ( and share the link with family and friends. 

Cremation vs. Burial

    • For a burial, where should it take place? What burial style do we prefer among the various options? Do we opt for a natural burial, or do we prefer a traditional headstone, and if the latter, what inscription should be included?
    • For cremation, how can we obtain the ashes afterward, and what decisions should we make regarding their disposition? Should we in inurn, scatter or create a keepsake?
Understand more about cremation vs burial to help you decide what is right for your loved one. 
    • Will we have a memorial service, funeral, or a celebration of life? If the deceased was religious, you’ll want to incorporate their religious beliefs into the service. 
    • Do we want to host a visitation? 
    • Should we include a funeral processional in the service
    • what venue will we use? do we want to host this service at their place of worship, a funeral home, or someplace else, such as someones home? 
    • If we have chosen cremation will we have an ash spreading ceremony? if so where do we want to spread the ashes. Make sure to check local rules and regulations before spreading ashes outdoors, in public location or in the water. 
    • Who will plan the specifics for the event such as inviting the guest, ordering food, and enlisting speakers to give eulogies? If you are planning to use a funeral you may want to consider using a funeral director to help plan the service.
Secure property and lock up valuables
    • If your loved one resided alone, make sure to secure their home and vehicle while you determine the next steps. Place valuables such as jewelry, cash, or collectibles in a safe or lockbox, or bring them with you to safeguard against potential break-ins.
Forward mail and email
      •  Visit the post office or to forward your loved one’s mail to you or a trusted person, preventing the mailbox from overflowing and indicating an empty house. Checking their mail can reveal information about their bank accounts, credit cards, and outstanding loans. For email, it’s a useful way to identify bills they were paying and monitor important information. Accessing the account may be challenging without the username and password, as email providers often require legal procedures, even after death. Contact the email service provider to understand their policies. Alternatively, you might find the password through a password manager, written notes near their computer, a phone app, or by making educated guesses.

It is important to note that the process of dealing with the death of a loved one can be emotionally challenging. Consider

enlisting the help of friends or family members, or seeking the support of a professional grief counselor or support group.