The Checklist of Responsibilities After Losing a Loved One

sad senior lady holding picture looking
We can help you manage the checklist of responsibilities you have after losing a loved one.

After losing a loved one, the last thing you want to do is complete a list of to-dos. The grief and mourning are daunting enough. Taking time to work through your grief is very important. Yet there are, unfortunately, a number of tasks that need to be taken care of, at various intervals after the individual’s passing.

To ease this process of working through tasks that need to be done after losing a loved one, we have compiled a straightforward checklist and timeline of items to address.

What Do I Need to Do After Losing a Loved One?

Directly following death:

  • Notify family and friends. You can do this in whatever way is easiest for you. You can contact one person and ask them to spread the word, or it could be more cathartic for you to speak with each person yourself. Use social media or email if that works best for you. There is no correct or incorrect way to accomplish this.
  • Obtain the legal pronouncement of death by a medical professional. In a nursing home or hospital, this will automatically be taken care of. In the case of death at home, call 911 for transport to the hospital for the pronouncement.
  • Get in touch with your chosen funeral home (or, if final wishes were preplanned, your loved one’s choice) to alert them of the death.

In a few days:

  • Work with the funeral home, the individual’s religious organization, and, if applicable, the Veterans’ Administration, to finalize plans for the service.
  • Establish who will help you with the funeral-related needs, such as writing the obituary, serving as pallbearers, helping with thank-you notes, and making arrangements for a post-funeral gathering.
  • Make sure any valuables left in the home are away and secured, and throw away any perishable food.
  • Make long-term arrangements for any pets.
  • Contact the post office for a forwarding order for the individual’s mail.

In two weeks:

  • Obtain ten copies of the individual’s death certificate (or, ask the funeral home to take care of this for you).
  • Meet with an attorney to discuss estate settlement.
  • Log all bills and assets, and cancel accounts: phone, internet, electric, streaming services, etc.
  • Contact a CPA to prepare a final tax return to be filed.
  • Close the person’s email account, and either memorialize or close their social media account(s).
  • Locate the individual’s will and identify who the executor is.
  • Notify the Social Security Administration, bank and financial advisors, life insurance company, a credit bureau such as Equifax, as well as the DMV. Many of these organizations will need a copy of the death certificate.
  • Take a copy of the will to your city or county probate court office to begin the process of ensuring the individual’s wishes outlined within the will are followed and that all outstanding debts are resolved.

JFS Care is prepared to help you through all the responsibilities you have on your plate after losing a loved one if the individual leaves behind a loved one requiring care. Our caregivers can step in to fill any gaps in care while you take care of the numerous final tasks and arrangements needed. Contact us online or call us any time at 213-383-2273 for assistance in Hollywood, Lost Angeles, and the nearby areas.