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Loss of a Loved One


The following is a simple checklist of some of the things that need to be done when someone passes away.


  • Get a legal pronouncement of death - This is a two-step process.  If your loved one died in a hospital or nursing home where a doctor was present, the staff will handle this notification.  A pronouncement of death is the first step to getting an official “death certificate”, which is a critical piece of paperwork that you will need moving forward. Without a declaration of death, you can’t plan a funeral much less handle the deceased’s legal affairs.

  • Tell friends and family - This is typically one of the hardest parts and it helps to enlist family members in this process.

  • Find out if there are existing funeral and burial plans - Look for a letter of instruction in the deceased’s papers or call a family meeting to have a conversation about what the funeral will look like if no instructions were left.

  • Make funeral and burial or cremation arrangements - Check to see if there are any pre-paid burial plans.  If the person was a veteran, then contact the Veterans Administration for further information.  

  • Confirm that there is a Will and possibly a Trust - These documents should be reviewed with an attorney, so as to determine the next steps in this legal process.

  • Find out if an executor has been named in the Will - People usually name an executor (the person who will manage the settling of the estate) in their Will.

  • Take Inventory - Take an inventory of all property, assets, and debts of the deceased.

  • Notifications - Notify the following of your loved one’s death: Social Security Administration, Life Insurance companies, banks & financial institutions, and credit agencies.

  • Closeout accounts - Cancel driver’s license, close credit card accounts, terminate insurance policies, and if possible close social media accounts and email accounts.


If you would like to learn more about the legal resources that we can provide, contact us today for a Free Consultation.  

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