Important actions and documents: what to do in the United States in the event of the death of a loved one

The loss of a loved one can be incredibly heavy, but if you are responsible for the funeral and have to settle the personal Affairs of the deceased, such experience is often unbearably complicated, writes Ever Loved.

Важные действия и документы: что делать в США в случае смерти близкого человека

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When at 93 years of age mother of Jeanne Kiefer died in hospice, the nurse knew whom to call and what to do, so the death and its immediate consequences, according to Keefer, had not been so tragic. She and her sister discussed the action in the event of the death of their mother. The nurse and consultant to the hospice helped to deal, in consequence of which they were able to sit with his mother until the last minute.

Compare this with the experience of relative Keefer, whose 97-year-old mother died at home in the presence of assistant nurses and children, who had not planned what to do after the death of a relative. The assistant nurses could not legally record the death, so the family called 911. The police came and inspected the place, as in a potential crime, questioning the family to rule out cruel treatment of the elderly. Only when the paramedics arrived, the body could pick up and terminate resuscitation attempts.

This different experience depends on the willingness and knowledge of procedures in the event of the death of a loved one. Here is a list of actions that must be taken after someone died. Please note that some of these actions can be performed only by the owner of the property, so if you are not the one, it is best to plan well in advance.

What to do in the first place

  1. To obtain a legal Declaration of death. If your relative died in hospital, the doctor can take care of everything for you. If a person dies at home under hospice care, call the nurse, who can declare the death and help transport the body.

If a person dies at home without hospice care, call 911 and have the document “do not resuscitate”, if it exists. Without that document, the medical staff typically begin the procedure of intensive care, except when permitted to announce the death, after which the person is taken to the emergency room, the doctor made a statement.

  1. Notify close friends and family. Each family needs its own approach. For some families, the exchange of news in person or over the phone is crucial. Other suitable e-mail or text message. If possible, divide the task to multiple family members.
  2. Check made if your family member any suggestions as the last will and did prepay a funeral home or cemetery. Ideally, this should be the documentation together with other medical documents. If no requests or plans were not announced, you have three main options:
  • Call the funeral home. Funeral homes can help you arrange the funeral or cremation. We recommend you to check reviews and prices at several funeral homes before you make a decision, as the cost can vary greatly. A few minutes of research can save you thousands of dollars and reduce the amount of unwanted surprises.
  • Call the cremation company. Although you can arrange a cremation through a funeral home, there are also companies specializing in cremation, who will work with you directly if you are interested in additional services of the funeral Director. Direct cremation using cremation company can cost a third of the cost of cremation through a funeral home.
  • Contact body donation. Your relative may have already registered to become a donor body, so check the documents. If he or she did not, there are still many programs that accept such donations from persons closest relatives. Many University medical programs and other commercial companies, such as BioGift and Science Care is based on the donations of the body, they will cover most of the costs, and will coordinate with other research programmes. Body donation is often a good option for families who want their loved ones could continue to help others after death, or who are looking for a more economical alternative to traditional funeral. The possibility of organ donation depends on how much time has passed, so it is important to act quickly.
  1. Arrange for care of Pets or people. If your loved one was responsible for the care of one or more people or Pets, find someone who can temporarily take care of them while you develop a long-term plan.
  2. To ensure the safety of the property. If the deceased person lived alone, make sure that his house and all the vehicles protected. If the house for some time will be free, consider notice to the lessor and/or the police so they keep an eye on him.
  3. To notify the employer of the deceased. Call the employer, if the deceased person worked. Request information about benefits and payments. Ask whether the life insurance policy through the company.

For several days after death:

  1. Decide on the funeral plans. If you decide to work with a funeral Director talk to the Director to discuss possible options. If you choose an immediate burial (burial without any ceremonies), cremation or donation to science, you can also hold a memorial service at a later stage.
  2. Ask the post office to forward all mail possible. If the person lived alone, it will not allow mail to accumulate and to show that the house is empty. Mail can also help you identify bills to be paid and bills that need to be closed. You must submit a request to the post office and prove that you are appointed by and empowered to manage the mail of the deceased.
  3. Spend more careful check a person’s home. Throw away any food, shelf life of which expires on, watering plants and look for anything that might require regular care.
  4. Create a memorial website. A memorial website will help you to share the announcement of the death and funeral plans with a large number of people.
  5. Write an obituary. Compose an obituary for your loved one. If you are not sure where to start, try using the template of obituary. At the conclusion, determine whether you want to pay to have it published in the local newspaper. You may want to publish the obituary on the Internet.

What to do, closer to the funeral, memorial service:

  1. Determine whether you need financial assistance. The average funeral cost about $9000, which is a huge burden for many families. Although there are many ways to save money on the funeral, you can consider financial assistance. A crowdfunding campaign for a funeral are becoming more common, and you can set up a free fundraiser for a funeral on your memorial website Ever Loved.
  2. View benefits for veterans. If your loved one was a veteran, you can receive financial assistance for the funeral. If the person was in the military or belonged to a fraternal or religious group, contact these organizations. They can have a funeral benefit or to provide funeral services.
  3. Select the participants of the funeral. If you want friends or family members gave speeches, sang, the coffin was carried out, or participated in any other way, discuss this with them.
  4. Set the schedule of the funeral. Determine the time and place for all events, write down an ordered list of everything that needs to happen.
  5. Ordering of printed materials, and colors. If you need service programs, prayer cards, flowers or other items, please order them a few days before. You can often order them directly through the funeral home that will minimize coordination on your part, but you can also look for yourself and find something more profitable.
  6. If you want to buy food and drinks. You can buy the food for the Wake on their own, collaborate with suppliers, or to hold the event in the restaurant, where guests can buy food and drinks. Any of these options is fully acceptable and depends on your personal preference.
  7. Spread the word. The funeral announcement on the Internet is often the easiest way to share event details with friends and family. For the elderly who may not use the Internet regularly, you can send a paper message about the funeral or to agree that other people called them and reported it.

What to do in a few weeks:

  1. To order the tombstone. Because gravestones are rarely ready in time to be dumped, you might as well do it after the funeral, when you have more time. Usually, you will be able to order the headstone through the cemetery, but you will have more opportunities (and often lower prices) if you order it online.
  2. Order multiple copies of the death certificate (usually from the funeral home). You’ll need them for financial institutions, government agencies and insurers. Most likely, you will need 5 to 10 copies (but possibly more), depending on which accounts were open to your loved ones. Your funeral Director can help you order them, or you can order them at city hall or other local files on their own.
  3. Take the will of the deceased to the appropriate County or municipal government.
  4. Contact the Department of social security. Your funeral Director may have already done this, check whether this is so. If you need to contact social security you can call 1-800-772-1213. You can apply for the benefits for the survivor. Visit the social security website to learn more and download any forms that you may need to fill.
  5. Notify any banks or mortgage companies. If you are unsure of which accounts could be the deceased, use his e-mail and any online account that you have access to determine this. Then take a copy of the death certificate and provide to each Bank to change the owner of accounts. If the deceased was a safe and you have no key, you may need a court order to open it and take inventory.
  6. Contact your financial advisors or brokers. Try to determine any additional financial and investment accounts, which were of the deceased. Work with each of them for transfer of ownership. Most likely, you will need the death certificate for each account.
  7. Contact your tax accountant. You will need to apply as a private person, and property.
  8. To notify the company of life insurance. Fill in the application form for any life insurance policies that were with the deceased. In addition, invite the friends and family members who may have included the deceased in their life insurance policies, updated them.
  9. To cancel insurance policies. This may include medical insurance, car insurance, insurance, homeowner’s or anything else. Depending on the policy, contact your insurance company or employer of your loved one, to discontinue insurance coverage. If the deceased participated in Medicare, the social security office will inform them of the death, but if your loved one had insurance coverage for prescription drugs Medicare (part D), Medicare Advantage and/or Medigap, you need to call their representatives and independently to cancel.
  10. Identify any benefits of employment. If the deceased was working, contact the employer to learn about Union benefits in case of death, pension plans and credit unions.
  11. Determine and pay important bills. Make a list of accounts that are likely to need to pay (e.g., mortgage, payment for the car, electricity), and do everything possible to track them using a mail person and online accounts. Set plan to ensure that these accounts continue to be paid on time.
  12. Close the credit card. Use e-mail, any online accounts of your loved ones, to identify open credit card accounts of the deceased. For each of them you will probably need to call the customer service Department and then send by email or send by mail a copy of the death certificate.
  13. Notify the credit Agency. Give a copy of the death certificate Experian, Equifax and TransUnion to minimize the likelihood of identity theft. It is also recommended to check the credit history of your close in a month or two to make sure that not open new accounts.
  14. Cancel driver’s license of the person. It will also help to prevent identity theft. Go online or call the DMV in your state for instructions. Prepare a copy of the death certificate. Notify the local election Commission. This helps to reduce the risk of fraud with voters in your area.
  15. Make a “memorization” account of a deceased on Facebook. This will allow his friends to continue to post photos and share memories, but in the future nobody will be able to enter it.
  16. Close the mailboxes. If you are sure that you have the necessary information about the other accounts, it’s a good idea to permanently close the account email of the deceased as an additional step to prevent fraud and identity theft. Every email provider for this is your own procedure, so do a quick online search to find out what steps you need to take.