Death is a disturbing event no matter the circumstances. But when it comes to a death in the family, the grief and distress of losing a loved one comes with a certain amount of responsibility.

The sadness you might feel when someone dies seems to be predominant. But in case you are in charge in the aftermath, then your focus has to move from your heart to your mind, at least for the first few days.

What to Do When Someone DiesIf the death was expected, things that need to be taken care of could be simpler, especially if the deceased has had time to make a few arrangements. But when death occurs without warning and no one was expressly made aware of the possibility, it is up you or any other close survivor to sort this process out.

Older people with a more pragmatic view of death opt for appointing a representative long before they pass away.  They usually go about it by making a will, which is a declaration form that can be notarized and validated, in which they state the name of the person chosen to carry out their final wishes. If that’s the case, survivors can easily find out who the designated person is. But in certain places like Colorado, such a declaration need not be legally authorized.

Therefore it’s best to ask whether the deceased person has previously chosen a representative.

Alternatively, some people don’t want to burden a relative with any death formalities, so they appoint a medical power of attorney. Essentially, they arrange with their health care agent to deal with what is customary in the event of death, since that is a person they can trust. Unless there is a valid power of attorney document that explicitly states that person is in charge of the death formalities, delegation power ends upon death.

In either case, there are a few standard procedures that need to be followed by anyone who comes across this unfortunate situation. We have enlisted three basic steps that tell you what to do when someone dies:

Register the Death

With the medical certificate attesting that the death of a person took place, you start by making a formal declaration in the registry office. Make sure you are ready to give the following information to the registrar:

  • the deceased’s full name

  • his/her date and place of birth

  • the name, date of birth and occupation of any spouse or partner

  • his/her last address and occupation

  • details of a state pension or any other benefits

In return, you leave with a certificate for burial, which allows you to apply for the burial, and the actual certificate of death.

Arrange the Funeral

Funerals cost money and time; this is why you should start arrangements as soon as possible and contact cemeteries or crematoriums in the area where the burial or cremation is going to take place.

Sometimes, the deceased has already prepaid for the service. Therefore, it’s best to check if he/she has given specific indications about how he/she wishes the service to happen.

Other times, money is to cover the bills, in which cas,e expect to pay up to $7,000 for the average funeral, not including additional cemetery costs, flowers or obituaries. If the funds allow you, it’s easy and practical to hire a funeral director that know  what to do, but if that’s not an option, you can certainly make the service arrangements yourself.

The Will Procedures

If the departed left a will, they would have normally left somebody in charge to sort out their properties so that the designated beneficiaries are left money or possessions.

If the document is nonexistent, you then require a grant of representation to access money and deal with the possessions left behind. A qualified attorney can be helpful if the situation is not clear enough.

You will then have to go through the deceased’s important documents and get in touch with all financial organizations – banks, insurance companies, and so on – to close down accounts, clear any unpaid debts, and release the funds.

Finally, you need to ensure that any possessions or money are directed to their lawful beneficiaries, as mentioned in the will.

What to do when someone dies is, without a doubt, one of the toughest questions to answer. However, you need to be prepared and make sure that every little thing is taken care of.

Contact Rogers & Moss for your free, no-risk, consultation.