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What to do When Someone Dies Checklist

What to do when someone dies – checklist for your next steps.

Someone has just died, there was a death in the family, or you just lost a loved one. A million questions are running through your mind.  Who should I call, and what should I do?

Handling the emotional blow of someone’s death is hard enough. And to also be shouldering the personal and legal burden of what to do when someone dies is overwhelming. That’s why we’ve made this what to do when someone dies checklist – to help turn a stressful time into a simple one.

What To Do When Someone Dies Checklist –  Immediately After Death

1. Get a legal pronouncement of death

After someone has died, you need to have a medical professional officially declare them dead. Importantly, it would be best if you did this as fast as possible. Further, a declaration of death must happen before you can move on to handling the will, the estate, the funeral home, etc.

  • If the person died in a hospital, the doctor can handle the pronouncement of death.
  • If they died in hospice care, you should call the hospice nurse, who can declare the death and help handle transportation of the body.
  • Or if the person died unexpectedly at home, call 911. They will generally bring the person to the ER, where a doctor will make a declaration of death.
  • If the death was not unexpected, you might call the individual’s physician first.

2. Arrange for transport of the body

If you know that you’re choosing Return Home – a green funeral home specializing in human composting, call us anytime at (206) 888-4663, and we’ll take care of transporting your loved one’s body.

3. Notify the person’s doctor, family, and friends

Reach out to your loved one’s doctor, family, friends, groups they belong to and let them know that your loved one has passed away. It may be difficult for one person to handle all the outreach, so enlist the help of others. You may also decide to send out a group email or text to help diminish the burden of individual phone calls.

4. Handle care of dependents and pets

You can arrange for the temporary care of pets and dependants like a kennel, babysitter, or ask a family member to step in. Most importantly, look for safe temporary care until there is a long-term solution.

5. Notify the person’s employer and groups they belong to

Reach out to your loved one’s employer and let them know they have died. Inquire about paychecks that may be due, benefits, and if there is a company-wide life insurance policy.

6. Give yourself space to grieve

Losing a loved one is a difficult time. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Allow yourself time to grieve and feel whatever you may be feeling around losing someone you care about.


What To Do When Someone Dies Checklist – A Few Days After Death

1. Arrange the funeral, memorial service, and disposition method

If you’re choosing Return Home, you can call us at (206) 888-4663 around the clock to arrange a terramation human composting service.

2. Secure the person’s home

Collect their mail, water their plants, throw out old food in the fridge, or ask a friend or relative to keep an eye on it.

What To Do When Someone Dies Checklist – 

Within 10 Days After Death

1. Obtain the Death Certificate

A death certificate helps you navigate financial institutions, government bodies, and more. Fortunately, as a licensed funeral home, Return Home can provide you with death certificates.

2. Locate the will and take it to a local government office to have it accepted for probate

Ideally, you know where your loved ones will is kept and there was an executor appointed who will manage the settling of the estate. If you need to locate the will, it may be kept in filing cabinets, desk drawers, or a safe deposit box.

Then, once the will is located, you will need to have it accepted for probate which is the legal process of executing the will. Next, you can take the will to the county or city probate court office. Probate court will ensure that your loved one’s liabilities and debts are paid. Then, the remaining assets can be transferred to the beneficiaries.

3. Contact the following when you are ready to do so:

  1. A trust and estate attorney to learn how to transfer a deceased’s assist with probate issues.
  2. Police, to have them periodically check the deceased’s house if vacant.
  3. An accountant or a tax preparer, to find if an estate tax return or final income-tax return should be filed.
  4. The person’s investment adviser, if applicable, for information on holdings.
  5. Banks to find accounts and safe deposit boxes.
  6. Life insurance agent to get claim forms.
  7. The Social Security Administration (800-772-1213) and other agencies from which the deceased received benefits, such as Veterans Affairs (800-827-1000), to stop payments and ask about benefits.
  8. The SSA, like the VA, recommends immediately reporting the person’s death, though in many cases, the funeral home will handle this.
  9. Agency providing pension services to stop monthly checks and get claim forms.
  10. Utility companies, to change or stop service, and Postal Service, to stop or forward mail. Reach out to other companies to stop recurring bills and subscriptions. If the home is vacant, contact the insurer to switch to a vacant policy. If the home is under a mortgage, contact the lender.
  11. The IRS, credit-reporting agencies, and the DMV to prevent identity theft.
  12. Social media companies, such as Facebook or LinkedIn, to memorialize or remove an account.


If Someone You Love Just Died, Get Support

At Return Home, we are here to support you through this challenging time. If you just lost a loved one, reach out. We’re here to walk you through your next steps and provide you with an eco-friendly alternative to burial and cremation.

Reach out 24 hours a day. We are here to guide you and honor the life of your loved one (206) 888-4663.

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