Thinking about a family member dying is probably the last thing you want to have on your mind. It’s an inevitable thing that most of us will have to face but we tend to put off putting any plans in place because we can’t bear the thought.
However, the reality is that there are important things to do when a family member dies. It can be overwhelming at the time so it’s best to know these things in advance so that you can be better prepared.
Let’s take a look at 7 important steps to take when a family member dies.
1. Make Sure You Get a Formal Declaration of Death
While this may not be the first thing that springs to mind when a loved one dies, it’s important nonetheless. Getting this declaration depends on where your family member died, and whether or not they were in hospital or in care.
If they were in hospital when they died, the Doctor or someone from the team looking after your loved one will make the declaration. This is also the case if an elderly relative is in care.
If it is an accident or unexpected death, call the emergency services. In the event of an accident that you feel is a potential case of wrongful death, look for more information on legal help.
2. Inform Family and Close Friends
The responsibility may fall on you to inform those close to your loved one. This is an incredibly difficult thing to do but you should not delay. Nobody wants to hear through the grapevine that their loved one has passed away.
If you can, ask other family members to help share the news to lessen the burden on your shoulders.
3. Check if They Are a Donor
One of the other time-pressed things you may need to do is check to see if your loved one is an organ donor. Check their belongings for a donor card, or if you have access to their will, the information should be available to you.
If they are a donor, call the hospital as the organs will need to be transported quickly to ensure they will be a viable transplant.
4. Ensure Their Home is In Order
If your loved one has pets, make sure they are safe and looked after. Inform suppliers of gas, electricity, and water that your loved one has died. This prevents any bills from being forgotten about and debt from mounting up.
Lock the doors and ensure the house is secure.
5. Arrange Transportation of the Body
Again, while this almost doesn’t bear thinking about, it is important that you decide what to do with the body. Your loved one may have end-of-life wishes which you will want to honor.
Usually, the transportation and burial/cremation will be organized by a funeral home. If your family member wishes to be cremated, you can also contact cremation companies directly.
6. Contact Your Loved One’s Employer
If your family member was retired, you may need to contact their pension provider to let them know. Otherwise, contact the employer and inform them.
At this point, you may want to enquire about any benefits they may have had, as well as pay due.
7. Seek Help From a Solicitor to Deal With the Estate
All of the above may seem a little overwhelming, especially in the midst of the emotion of losing a loved one. Then thought of having to go through all the legal proceedings regarding your loved one’s estate and will, is almost too much.
A solicitor will be able to guide you through this process and ensure everything is tied up.
Help is Available When a Family Member Dies
When a family member dies, help will be on hand every step of the way. That may be emotional support from family or legal support from a solicitor. You want to be able to mourn the loss and remember your loved one without having too much going on.
While there is important work to do, there is always guidance available to you throughout one of the most difficult things that life can throw at you.