The to-do list after the funeral can be daunting. Many people don’t even know where to start. To give you a helping hand, here are the first 13 things you should do after the funeral. This checklist can help organize some of the items that you will need to address in the coming weeks.
To-Do List for After The Funeral
1. Send Thank You Notes to those who sent flowers, food, and donations or showed a special kindness. Send a personal note thanking the clergy for spiritual help.
2. Find Important Papers: Deeds, bankbooks or account statements, stock certificates or investment account statements and insurance policies.
3. Locate Important Certificates: marriage certificate, birth certificate, military discharge papers, Social Security card and tax forms. These records are needed to establish claims for Social Security, life insurance or veteran’s benefits.
4. Notify the Insurance Companies (in writing) of death: Each company will need a statement of claim and “cause-of-death” death certificate before benefits can be received. Keep copies of all correspondence. Please call us at the funeral home if you need any assistance. We are here to serve you.
5. Contact the Social Security Office. Although we notify the Social Security office that the death has occurred, we encourage you to contact the Social Security office to find out if you are eligible for new benefits. Certain Social Security benefits are not automatically paid out after death. You must apply for them. Contact us for more information.
6. Write a formal letter to deceased’s employer, union, or any other group or professional organization he or she may have held an association with. Many of these organizations have insurance policies for which you may be the beneficiary. Also inquire about any 401(k), pension or company stock benefits.
7. Check on veteran’s benefits. If the deceased was a veteran, the funeral home will assist you in applying for veteran’s benefits or you can apply for veteran’s benefits at the nearest Veteran’s Administration office. Keep copies of all correspondence.
8. Notify the deceased’s bank. If you had joint accounts, you will need to remove the deceased’s name from the account. In some instances, joint bank accounts are automatically frozen upon death. You may need a death certificate to do this.
9. Notify all creditors. Remember, some credit cards and/or loans will have credit life insurance to pay off balances. Do not pay off these accounts before inquiring about the existence of credit life insurance coverage.
10. Meet with the attorney. With the deceased’s attorney, you can discuss the necessary legal process.
11. Notify the deceased’s accountant or tax advisor.
12. Update your will. If needed, this should be done. If you lost your spouse, it is important that your own will is brought up to date. New beneficiaries will need to be designated. The professional services of an attorney should be utilized.
13. Order a cemetery monument. If you already had a monument, make sure that the time of death has been order.
You have just suffered an emotionally devastating event and the last things you want to deal with are money and legal matters. However, they do matter and they must be done, so try to do the best you can. Many of these tasks can also be handled by family members and trusted friends, so allow them to assist you.
We would also recommend keeping a notebook or word document of all your correspondence and notes. Having all your information in one place to reference will make the process easier and less stressful. As always, contact Willwerscheid Funeral Home & Cremation Service with your questions. We are here to help you through this difficult process.