No amount of prior knowledge or preparation can truly prepare anyone for the actual moment of someone’s passing, but it can make things a bit easier. It provides us and everyone else with a chance to grieve, without being overwhelmed by everything that follows. So, without further delay, here are a few important steps to take immediately after someone passes away in the family.
Ensure Pronouncement of Death
Pronouncement of Death is a legal requirement, where a certified medical professional with the authority to pronounce someone dead, does so after due diligence. This is generally not an issue if the death occurs in a medical facility, as there are supposed to be medical professionals with the necessary knowledge present in such facilities to carry out a Pronouncement of Death.
However, if the death occurs at home, you will need to contact a qualified medical professional at home to make the call. Under normal circumstances, most states allow advanced practice nurses to pronounce death, and all states accept death pronouncements from qualified physicians. If foul play is suspected, calling the local or national emergency number is highly recommended as the first step.
Contact All Concerned Parties
The concerned party is a vague term since it can mean different people under different circumstances. However, the usual rule is to contact everyone who was close to the deceased and let them know about their loved one’s passing. Other than friends, family members and relatives, calls should also be placed to inform the deceased’s attorney (if they had one), their unit (for veterans) and other people/organizations that they may have had close ties with.
Contact the Funeral Service
Next, it is time to contact a funeral service. Now, the more comprehensive their services are, the better it is. You want a funeral home that can handle all aspects of the funeral services, so that you or anyone else in the family does not have to spend more time on it than necessary.
If the deceased is in Texas, you can book services online to get a quote immediately on atxcremation.com. After talking with you regarding the necessary details, they will handle everything from collecting the body and procuring copies of the death certificate, to arranging a private cremation and delivering the ashes.
Once things settle down a bit, family members should be looking for the following documents, as and when applicable:
- A legal will or testament
- Personal Identification Documents (ID)
- Beneficiary designations in account records (bank statements, investment documents, etc.)
- Debt records (last credit card statement(s), mortgage documents, car loan documents, personal loan documents, etc.)
- All insurance details and documents related to health insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, car insurance, home insurance, etc.
- Tax return files (2 fiscal years)
If the deceased individual hired an attorney, almost all the necessary documents should be in their office. Even if they did not hire one, you will need these later to claim benefits or inheritance, if and where applicable.