What to Do When Someone Dies: A Survivor's Checklist

Monday, March 16, 2020

When a loved one dies, it's easy to become overwhelmed by grief. However, as the person in charge of taking care of everything, you don't have the luxury of succumbing to your emotions. There will be a time for grief, but right now, you must be proactive. 

While we understand this is much easier said than done, you can do this. You can stay strong and carry this heavy burden to make sure your loved one's passing is properly managed, both for their sake and yours. And we can help.

Let's start with what to do when someone dies.

1. Take Care of the Necessary Immediate Logistics

Depending on where you are when your loved one passes, the immediate question of what to do when someone dies may not rest on your shoulders. For example, if you're in the hospital or a hospice care facility, most of the logistics will be handled by the staff.

However, if you're at home or outside of a medical facility, you need to make sure your loved one is legally pronounced as deceased. We recommend calling 911 immediately. Additionally, if your loved one was an organ donor, arrangements must be made to harvest the organs as soon as feasibly possible.

2. Decide How to Handle Your Loved One's Remains

If you are at home when your loved one dies, you'll also be left to answer how to handle their remains. In most cases, your loved one will have prepared plans ahead of time and all you'll have to do is call the proper authorities. 

This can be calling the funeral home, the cremation facility, or the proper medical authorities for organ or full-body donations.

3. Notify Loved Ones

One of the hardest steps of what to do when someone dies is being the bearer of bad news. However, should this be your burden, it's up to you to make sure everybody is made aware of your loved one's passing. They have a right to know. 

Moreover, the more people who know the more emotional support you'll have. Humans are designed to be social, especially when dealing with loss. Try to look at it in a positive light and learn how to deliver ill tidings.

4. Ask For Help

Figuring out what to do when someone dies can be made even more difficult if their passing was unexpected. In this case, there will be a lot of things you and others need to take care of. It's a tedious process and we urge you to ask for help.

Here are some things to consider to help you make sure everything is taken care of:

  • Does the person have pets that need to be cared for?
  • Does their bank, mortgage company, or landlord need to be notified?
  • Someone needs to notify their employer.
  • Someone needs to take care of their mail.
  • Someone needs to go through their home and throw out expiring food, water plants, and take care of regular maintenance until the home is taken care of.

These are just a few things to consider. Each person has different assets and responsibilities. Just do your best to take care of these things and allow yourself some grace if you make any errors. 

5. Make Final Arrangements

Finally, you need to make the final arrangement. They may have planned everything already, had they known they were passing. 

This includes a funeral and the subsequent burial or cremation. However, you also need to write or make sure someone writes their obituary. 

After all of this, their will can be taken into account to legally distribute their possessions, finances, properties, etc.

Do You Need More Advice on What to Do When Someone Dies?

It can be difficult to know what to do when someone dies. It all seems like too much when facing the loss of your loved one and knowing you have to take care of all the logistics. But remember, you can do this - the greatest burdens are placed on those who can bear them, whether you realize it or not.

However, if you want some help with the funeral service, cremation options, and more, we would love to assist you in your time of need. Contact us today and let us know what you need.

View All Recent Posts