With COVID and the other variants it is important to be prepared for the worse and for the practicality of death. Last night my friend lost her mother. She knew it was coming, as it almost happened in 2019, so she was prepared. As I watched the series of events unfold, I realize I did not know half of what you need to know and I knew this article needed to be written.
First know your wishes. Only 1% know what their loved one’s last wishes are, and 22% of people don’t even know any of their own wishes. Find and know what you and your loved ones want for funeral arrangements. Have a funeral home in place and know their number. Have any medical wishes in writing and notarized. Make sure the hospital that they attend has this in record. Have a living will in place, and know where it is kept.
The first person to call is your doctor and 911. The EMT’s need to sign a death certificate before the funeral home can pick up the body. The police need to ask a series of questions so they can give the funeral home the death certificate.
Make sure you have a do-not-resuscitate document if it exists. Without one, paramedics will generally start emergency procedures. Know their full name, birthdate, next of kin and their parents names. You will be asked.
Obtain the death certificate (usually from the funeral home).Get multiple copies; you’ll need them for financial institutions, government agencies, and insurers.
Take the will to the appropriate county or city office to have it accepted for probate. Check your state’s laws, which may require you to file the will within a set period of time.
If necessary, the estate’s executor should open a bank account for the deceased’s estate.
Go to the Banks, to find accounts and safe deposit box.
Call Life insurance agent, to get claim forms.
The Social Security Administration (800-772-1213; ssa.gov) and other agencies from which the deceased received benefits, such as Veterans Affairs (800-827-1000; va.gov), to stop payments and ask about applicable survivor benefits. The SSA, like the VA, recommends immediately reporting the person’s death, though in many cases the funeral home will handle this.
Contact the agency providing pension services, to stop monthly checks and get claim forms.
Call the IRS, credit-reporting agencies, and the DMV to prevent identity theft.
Above all breath.