1. Notify the appropriate people:
This is a very important step. It is necessary to contact any family members, friends, doctors, employers and other individuals who should be informed of the death. Depending on the circumstances, it might be necessary to contact local authorities such as law enforcement or a coroner to officially report the death. In some cases, it could be necessary to contact the Social Security Administration or Veterans Affairs.
2. Make funeral arrangements:
Funeral arrangements should include selecting a cemetery and a funeral home, deciding on burial or cremation, and making decisions about the service. It is also important to consider the cost of these arrangements and make sure enough money has been set aside for them. Additionally, if any special circumstances arise during this process (such as dealing with hazardous materials) those should be handled appropriately.
3. Gather important documents:
This includes any crucial paperwork that may be required for legal purposes such as death certificates, wills, trust documents, insurance policies, financial records, marriage licenses/divorce decrees and titles to vehicles and property. It is important to make sure these documents are located and safely stored for future use.
4. Set aside funds for final expenses:
If there were any unpaid debts or remaining bills it is necessary to ensure that they will be covered. This can also include the cost of funeral arrangements and other related expenses.
5. Manage finances:
This includes closing out bank accounts, transferring investments, paying off debts, and managing any income received on behalf of the deceased person’s estate. Additionally, it could involve issuing refunds on canceled services or accounts in order to settle those obligations as well.
6. Cancel subscriptions/memberships:
It is important to cancel any services or memberships that the deceased person had in order to avoid any unnecessary fees or charges.
7. File taxes on behalf of the deceased person’s estate:
Depending on the circumstances, it might be necessary to file a final tax return for the deceased and/or an estate tax return with the IRS. It is important to ensure this paperwork is handled properly and all applicable taxes are paid.
8. Update financial accounts:
This includes making sure any passwords or PIN numbers associated with banking accounts, credit cards, online retailers, etc., are updated with new information so they can no longer be accessed by anyone other than authorized parties. This can help protect against identity theft and unauthorized purchases being made on the deceased person’s behalf.
9. Obtain probate if necessary:
In some cases, it might be necessary to obtain a grant of probate (or letters of administration) in order to gain access to the deceased person’s estate. This might require filing forms with the court and could involve paying court fees or other costs. It is important to understand what is required and make sure all applicable paperwork is completed when necessary.
10. Change titles to vehicles and real estate:
If the deceased was an owner of vehicles, boats or property, it is necessary to change the titles into another name or transfer them into trust. Depending on the type of property involved, this process could include filing forms with the DMV and/or county recorder's office. It is important to make sure this process is handled properly in order for ownership of the property to transfer correctly.
11. Locate important records/items and distribute them as appropriate:
This could involve locating any important documents or other items (e.g., jewelry, heirlooms, etc.), that the deceased person may have had and making sure they are distributed according to their wishes. Additionally, it is important to make sure any online accounts associated with the deceased person’s estate are properly closed out or transferred into another name as appropriate.
12. Monitor mail for final bills and notifications:
It is important to monitor any mail that may be received on behalf of the deceased person’s estate, as it could contain important information such as final bills or notifications from creditors. It is important to make sure these are addressed properly in order to avoid late fees or other issues.