Things to consider in a Bereavement Process

When a loved one passes away; the last thing one would want to think about is having to run errands here and there to set up the viewing immediately. This is indeed a very stressful job especially for the family of the deceased. One cannot imagine having to go through the grief of losing someone permanently while still in the bereavement process.

Due to the stress and depression that the loss may bring, one might be able to forget taking care of the legal concerns associated with one’s death. That’s why we’ve made a step-by-step outline on how to handle the legalities concerning the deceased. This way, one will still be able to go through the process despite the feeling of loss.

The below overview is meant to help guide the family and friends of the deceased during the bereavement phase. While there are many processes that will need to be considered immediately, other legal and financial points are listed to be considered in the longer term.

Processes That Call Immediate Action

  • Get a legal pronouncement of death.  The most usual people to do this are doctors or coroners who also state the time of death. If this is not possible at the time, immediately call someone capable.
  • Have the transport of the body arranged and contact the preferred mortuary services. The case would be different if the family of the bereaved requests for an autopsy but if not, contact the local mortuary should be done at once. It is also important that the price for the service is already quoted in the phone call.
  • One should immediately tell the news to the deceased’s attending doctor. If the person doesn’t have one or is unavailable, contact the county sheriff instead.
  • Let the closest friends and family members know. Make sure to adjust the delivery of the news according to the recipient’s state of health, such as the risk for heart attack.
  • Arrange for organ donation –

    Check the driver’s license and an advance health care directive, such as a living will or health care proxy. If the answer is “yes”, the hospital where the person died will have a coordinator to guide you through the process. If the person died outside of a hospital, including hospice or a nursing home, contact the nearest home, contact the nearest hospital. Staff will be on hand to answer questions about what to expect next. There is no cost.

  • If the person has already made arrangements regarding his body once he died, then this should be respected by the family. If it states in his health proxy, living will or advance directive that he wants his body to be donated to a medical school, then it’s best that it should be followed. The next of kin can also make arrangements as to the donation of organs; provided that the decision is made as early as possible.
  • Get in touch with the best people who can help with the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death. This could be the doctor or even the county sheriff if one needs to register the death.
  • Register the death at other appropriate offices; this could be the Registrar of Births and Deaths. Have an appointment set to confirm the agenda?

After a few days of the bereavement process

Within a few days of confirming the death, these items will require attention.

  • Invite the vital people in the deceased person’s life to talk about the funeral preparations. This could be close friends as well as immediate and extended family members.
  • Arrange for funeral or cremation. Use instructions the deceased might have left and earlier family discussions to make decisions about funeral or memorial arrangements. Let other family members know. Also, spread the words to other important people in his life that may want to see the deceased before his burial day.
  • Inform the employer about death. Inform also other organizations that the deceased may be a member of. This could be clubs, fraternities, sororities, and the likes.

After 1-week of the bereavement process

  • Get certified death certificates. You may need at least a dozen certified death records to complete upcoming tasks, though some will require less expensive copies. You can order them from the vital statistics office in the state where the death occurred or from the city hall or other local records office. Each certified record will cost $10-20.
  • Notify the local Social Security office. Call 1-800-772-1213 or contact your local office. If the deceased was receiving benefits, they must stop because overpayments will require complicated repayment. If the deceased has a surviving spouse or dependents, ask about their eligibility for increased personal benefits and about a one-time payment to the survivor.
  • Check survivor’s benefits- http://www.ssa.gov/survivorplan/survivorchartred.htm

  • If the deceased received Medicare, Social Security will inform the program of the death. Also when the defunct had been enrolled in Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage (Part D), Medicare Advantage Plan or had a Medigap policy, contact these plans at the phone numbers provided on each plan membership card to cancel the insurance.
  • Stop health insurance. Notify the health insurance company or the deceased’s employer. End coverage for the deceased, but be sure coverage for any dependents continues as needed.
  • Notify life insurance companies. If the deceased has life insurance, appropriate claim forms will need to be filed. You will need to provide the policy numbers and a death certificate. If the deceased has a beneficiary on a policy, arrange to have the name removed.
  • Terminate other insurance policies. Contact the providers: homeowner’s, automobile, and so forth.
  • Notify mortgage companies and banks. If you don’t know the online passwords and accounts, take a death certificate to the bank for assistance. Change ownership of joint bank accounts. If the deceased had a safe deposit box, the executor would likely need a court order to open and inventory the safe deposit box.
  • Close credit card accounts. For each account, call the customer service phone number on the credit card, monthly statement or issuer’s website. Let the agent know that you would like to close the account of a deceased relative/family member. Upon request, submit a copy of the death certificate by fax or email. Once the company receives the certificate, it will close the account as of the date of death. If an agent doesn’t offer to waive interest or fees after that date, be sure to ask. Keep records of the accounts you close.
  • Notify credit reporting agencies. To minimize the chance of identity theft, provide copies of the death certificate to the three major firms- Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion- as soon as possible so the account is flagged. Four to six weeks later, check the deceased’s credit history to ensure no fraudulent accounts have been opened.
  • Cancel the driver’s license. Contact the state department of the motor vehicle for exact instructions.
  • Cancel email and website accounts.
  • Cancel memberships to organizations.
  • Notify the post office. Cancel subscriptions, creditors, and other accounts that need to be canceled.

Other considerations

Check is the deceased had the last will. If the deceased owned a house, the best decision is to hire an attorney for advice about the property’s title and the mortgage.

If there is no will, the property will be divided according to Colorado’s interstate laws on succession and inheritance. This means that it will vary depending on which relatives were living with the deceased at the time of death e.g. grandparents, children, spouse etc.

If one wishes to sell the property, then it should be sold by the estate as stated in the will. However, one has to ask for probate in court if it happens that the deceased didn’t leave a will. Only then can the selling process commence, and the seller can distribute the profit.

And if you need help or assistance when it comes to selling the property, you can always contact Rajanikanth Maddhi at 720 5151051.  His line is open for your real estate concerns, so don’t hesitate to give him a call!

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