What Now?

This simple list will prioritize what is important to resolve after the passing of a loved one.

A Death Has Just Occurred

This simple list will prioritize what is important to resolve after the passing of a loved one. To use, scroll down for more information on each step and then swipe right to proceed through the rest of the checklist items.

A Death Has Just Occurred (First 24 Hours)
  1. Call 911 right away if there has been an unexpected death in your home
  2. Get a legal pronouncement of death
  3. Allow yourself some time to grieve and process what has happened
  4. Locate any pre-planned funeral plans or end-of-life instructions
  5. Arrange for the transportation of the body
  6. Contact close relatives and friends
  7. Arrange for the care of any pets and/or dependents
  8. Secure property
  9. Notify your loved one’s employer
If the immediate tasks below have been accomplished, then you may want to start using our funeral planning checklist. Click the button below to start.
Email Immediate Need Checklist
If you would like to receive a copy of this checklist in your email please click the button below.
https://obitia.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/icons8-hospital-80-1.png

1. Call 911

If the death was expected and your loved one did not want CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), you should have a Do-Not-Resuscitate document in hand, which will prevent emergency services from performing life-saving medical procedures.

If you would like a Do-Not-Resuscitate form, you can download one below.

https://obitia.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/icons8-agreement-80.png

2. Get a legal pronouncement of death

The death must be officially pronounced by someone with the authority to do so (a doctor in a hospital or nursing facility or a hospice nurse). This person will fill out the forms certifying the cause, time, and place of death, which will make it possible for the death certificate to be prepared.

If your loved one died at home, you do not need to move the body immediately. Once you’ve notified the proper medical services, the time that follows is for any special religious, ethnic, or cultural customs that are performed soon after death. If they passed away in a hospital or hospice, there is likely already a plan for what happens after death, but notify staff of any religious services or customs you’d like performed.

https://obitia.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/icons8-heart-hand-80.png

3. Allow yourself some time to grieve and process what has happened

It’s ok to take time and grieve. There will be a lot that will have to be accomplished in the coming weeks. It’s important to nurture your emotional needs during this difficult time. Know that everything will get done, just take a deep breath and allow yourself to be present.

https://obitia.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/icons8-search-property-80.png

4. Locate any pre-planned funeral or burial plans, or end-of-life instructions

Look for any written instructions for funeral or memorial service preferences or any pre-paid end-of-life arrangements that your loved one might have made. Often a will leaves some instruction as to the end-of-life wishes. If not found, ask close friends, or your loved one’s doctor or lawyer if they know where these instructions may be located.

If your loved one was an organ donor (their driver’s license or advance directives would say so), notify their doctor or hospice immediately as anatomical and organ donations are time sensitive, and must be acted upon quickly.

https://obitia.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/icons8-road-80.png

5. Arrange for the transportation of the body

Once everything has been cleared with the proper authorities, the next call you should place is to a licensed funeral director and arrangements should be made to pick up the body as soon as the family is ready and according to local laws.

If your loved one left any direction for the final disposition of the body then you will know who to contact. If not, you will need to either find a funeral home, a crematory or contact a company to arrange for an anatomical donation.

Search local funeral homes and crematories by location, price, and specific requirements.

https://obitia.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Search-Screen-Shot.png
https://obitia.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/icons8-phone-80.png

6. Contact close relatives and friends

Contact your loved one’s close family and/or friends, as well as their doctor and lawyer, if any. In the immediate aftermath of death, it is natural to feel an overwhelming sense of shock, emotion, and stress. At this time, it’s understandably difficult to convey the sad news to so many people, so know that it’s ok to keep the conversation brief – there will be more time later on to provide details of your loved one’s passing. Don’t be afraid to ask for help in contacting others.

https://obitia.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/icons8-dog-80.png

7. Arrange for the care of any pets and/or dependents

If your loved one cared for any dependents (i.e., grandchildren or pets), make arrangements immediately for their care, even if they are only temporary, until more long-term plans can be made. Click below to go to Care.com which offers a wide array of care options for seniors, children, and even pets.

https://obitia.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/icons8-lock-80.png

8. Secure property

If your loved one’s property will sit vacant, make sure everything is locked up and is secure, and consider asking someone, perhaps a landlord, neighbor or the police, to keep an eye on the place. Place valuables such as jewelry, cash, or other valuable items in a safe place.

https://obitia.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/icons8-business-80.png

9. Notify your loved one’s employer

If your loved one was employed at the time of their death, notify their employer and request any information about benefits and any pay that might still be due. This is a good time to ask whether there was a life insurance policy through the company.

https://obitia.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/icons8-hospital-80-1.png

1. Call 911

If the death was expected and your loved one did not want CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), you should have a Do-Not-Resuscitate document in hand, which will prevent emergency services from performing life-saving medical procedures.

https://obitia.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/icons8-agreement-80.png

2. Get a legal pronouncement of death

The death must be officially pronounced by someone with the authority to do so (a doctor in a hospital or nursing facility or a hospice nurse). This person will fill out the forms certifying the cause, time, and place of death, which will make it possible for the death certificate to be prepared.

If your loved one died at home, you do not need to move the body immediately. Once you’ve notified the proper medical services, the time that follows is for any special religious, ethnic, or cultural customs that are performed soon after death. If they passed away in a hospital or hospice, there is likely already a plan for what happens after death, but notify staff of any religious services or customs you’d like performed.

https://obitia.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/icons8-heart-hand-80.png

3. Allow yourself some time to grieve and process what has happened

It’s ok to take time and grieve. There will be a lot that will have to be accomplished in the coming weeks. It’s important to nurture your emotional needs during this difficult time. Know that everything will get done, just take a deep breath and allow yourself to be present.

https://obitia.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/icons8-search-property-80.png

4. Locate any pre-planned funeral or burial plans, or end-of-life instructions

Look for any written instructions for funeral or memorial service preferences or any pre-paid end-of-life arrangements that your loved one might have made. Often a will leaves some instruction as to the end-of-life wishes. If not found, ask close friends, or your loved one’s doctor or lawyer if they know where these instructions may be located.

If your loved one was an organ donor (their driver’s license or advance directives would say so), notify their doctor or hospice immediately as anatomical and organ donations are time sensitive, and must be acted upon quickly.

https://obitia.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/icons8-road-80.png

5. Arrange for the transportation of the body

Once everything has been cleared with the proper authorities, the next call you should place is to a licensed funeral director and arrangements should be made to pick up the body as soon as the family is ready and according to local laws.

If your loved one left any direction for the final disposition of the body then you will know who to contact. If not, you will need to either find a funeral home, a crematory or contact a company to arrange for an anatomical donation.

Search local funeral homes and crematories below by location, price, and specific requirements.

https://obitia.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/icons8-phone-80.png

6. Contact close relatives and friends

Contact your loved one’s close family and/or friends, as well as their doctor and lawyer, if any. In the immediate aftermath of a death, it is natural to feel an overwhelming sense of shock, emotion, and stress. At this time, it’s understandably difficult to convey the sad news to so many people, so know that it’s ok to keep the conversation brief – there will be more time later on to provide details of your loved one’s passing. Don’t be afraid to ask for help in contacting others.

https://obitia.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/icons8-dog-80.png

7. Arrange for the care of any pets and/or dependents

If your loved one cared for any dependents (i.e., grandchildren or pets), make arrangements immediately for their care, even if they are only temporary, until more long-term plans can be made. The button below will take you to Care.com which offers a large array of care options for seniors, children, and even pets.

https://obitia.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/icons8-lock-80.png

8. Secure property

If your loved one’s property will sit vacant, make sure everything is locked up and is secure, and consider asking someone, perhaps a landlord, neighbor or the police, to keep an eye on the place. Place valuables such as jewelry, cash, or other valuable items in a safe place.

https://obitia.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/icons8-business-80.png

9. Notify your loved one’s employer

If your loved one was employed at the time of their death, notify their employer and request any information about benefits and any pay that might still be due. This is a good time to ask whether there was a life insurance policy through the company.

https://obitia.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/icons8-double-right-80.png

Continue to the Funeral Planning Checklist

Click the “Next: Funeral Planning Checklist“ button below

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal, tax or any other professional advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only.

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