What are the Most Important Things You Need to Remember to Do After a Loved One Dies?

Coping with grief and working through all of the necessary administrative steps to figure out what comes next after a loved one passes away can easily become overwhelming. It can be difficult to get your bearings, but it’s essential to take forward action on a few different tasks immediately.

What Should You Do After a Loved One Dies?

If your loved one did not have final wishes pre-arranged, you will need to communicate with other key family members if a funeral or memorial service is to be scheduled. This is the first and utmost priority and other steps of administration can wait for this memorial service or funeral to be planned.

Shortly after this event concludes, however, it’s important to review all the necessary documents that your loved one ideally had. That can include:

  • A trust
  • A will
  • Other important paperwork
  • Titles to cars
  • Deeds to their property

Things to do after a loved one dies

Why Should You Create a List of Debts and Assets?

Obtaining multiple certified copies of the death certificate is recommended. If you’re appointed to the role of managing and administering your loved one’s estate, a thorough review of the loved one’s finances should be the next step. This typically begins with making a list of all debts and assets.

The asset list should also incorporate retirement plans like 401(k)s and IRAs. You should contact your plan’s administrator to determine the listed beneficiary on the account. The same is true for life insurance policies and brokerage accounts. Contact Social Security immediately if your loved one was receiving monthly benefit payments. Do not cash any checks that might have come in the mail. Instead, return these to Social Security.

How Can You Avoid Confusion over the Probate Process?

The next most important step in closing out a loved one’s estate is to probate the will. Make sure that you are clear about where the probate paperwork needs to be filed. Depending on where your loved one died, a consultation with a trusted estate planning lawyer in Maryland and D.C. can help your family members avoid the overwhelming confusion that is typically associated with the probate process. 

Get the Help You Need from an Estate Planning Attorney

Clifford M. Cohen has more than 35 years of experience and dedicates his practice to guiding aging individuals in the Maryland and D.C. area through all facets of estate planning law. Contact us today at 202-895-2799 for a free case evaluation.