A Checklist of Things to Do After a Person Dies


Even with the best of planning, the time of actual death may be emotional. This is only natural. However, when a person is suffering from a loss of this type, remembering all that needs to be done may be difficult.

An elder law attorney and his wife, both caregivers, developed a printable checklist to help families and friends through this emotional and trying time. They generously have allowed us to make it available to you. Their website, H.E.L.P, is devoted to helping people with aging related legal and care issues.


Place an "x" in the left column when an item has been completed.
  Notify immediate family and close friends
  Evaluate the emotional impact on the surviving spouse, children and close relatives and friends; arrange for support
  Deal with donation of bodily organs to an "organ bank", as appropriate
  Arrange care for dependents, if any
  Notify attending physician or coroner
  Arrange care for pets, if any
  Evaluate the need for security at Decedent's residence 
  Cancel or rearrange home deliveries? 
  Have Post Office hold mail?
  Find perishable property (food, plants, etc.), arrange for care or disposal
  Find and review Decedent's expressed funeral and burial wishes
  Notify agent under power of attorney 
  Prepare and arrange for obituary
  Arrange for mortuary, cemetery, burial, cremation, as appropriate
  Arrange for funeral/burial services
  Notify other members of family and friends 
  Keep records of all payments for funeral and other expenses 
  Locate safe deposit box(es); follow safe deposit box procedures 
  Locate wills, codicils, trusts 
  Locate life insurance policies
  Locate other important documents, relationships, accounts, investments, etc.  
  Advise Social Security and other agencies, as appropriate 
  Investigate Social Security benefits
  Investigate life insurance
  Investigate union death benefits
  Investigate veterans burial allowance and other benefits
  Investigate fraternal organizations
  Investigate employee benefits, including accrued vacation pay, death benefits, final wages, retirement plans, deferred compensation, medical reimbursements
  Investigate refunds on insurance or cancelled subscriptions
  Investigate Keogh and IRA accounts
  Investigate business, partnership and investment arrangements
  Retain and meet with attorney regarding estate matters
  Retain and meet with CPA as to tax and accounting matters
  Meet with life insurance agent to collect proceeds or consider options
  Obtain death certificates (ask attorney how many are needed)
  Deal with fire, theft, liability and auto insurance on Decedent's property
  Work with attorney and CPA to prepare inventory, list of accounts and list of debts
  Review credit cards and charge accounts, cancel as appropriate
  DO NOT pay any of Decedent's debts until attorney discusses with family or executor
  Obtain valuations of assets, as appropriate
  If Trust involved, arrange for any allocations and transfers
  Arrange for final income tax return and estate tax return, as necessary

Copyright © 2002 H.E.L.P (Healthcare and Elder Law Programs Corporation)
Used with permission.





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