Death of a loved one can be an extremely difficult time. During this time of grief, you may not want to think about the arrangements that have to be made after a loved one passes away. However, it is important to take care of these matters as soon as possible.
There are several matters that require urgent attention. These are matters that need to be handled before you even start thinking about probate or the probate administration process.
As a personal representative, taking care of these urgent matters can help ease the burden of the probate administration process and ensure that the deceased’s affairs are handled properly.
1. Find the Estate Planning Documents
If your loved one dies, it’s important to gather the estate planning documents, including their will or trust, if they have one. This information will help you understand their final wishes and make the appropriate arrangements.
Even having conducted a diligent search, the knowledge that a will, trust, or other document does not exist is information that can help you plan for and move forward with the estate settlement process.
If you’re not sure where to start, begin by searching through your loved one’s personal papers and records. You may also want to ask family and friends if they know of any documents.
2. Search for Instructions Regarding Burial
When a loved one dies, it is important to make arrangements for their burial or cremation as soon as possible. You will also need to decide whether or not to donate their body to science.
There are quite a few decisions to be made with respect to this. If you are choosing to bury your loved one, you will need to purchase a casket or grave liner and arrange for a funeral home to transport the body. You will also need to choose a burial plot at a cemetery. You will need to purchase a casket or urn and arrange for transportation of the body to the cemetery. You will also need to purchase a grave marker or headstone.
If you want to cremate your loved one, you will need to arrange for the cremation with a funeral home or crematory. You may also want to purchase an urn to hold the ashes.
3. Arrange for Organ Donation, if applicable
Organ donation is a generosity that can bring hope to others even in the darkest of times. If you or your loved one has decided to be an organ donor, there are a few things you’ll need to do to make it happen.
First, you’ll need to register with your state’s organ donor registry. You can do this online, in person, or by calling your local DMV. Once you’re registered, be sure to tell your family and friends about your decision so they know what to do if something happens to you.
Next, you’ll need to make arrangements with a hospital or transplant center. You’ll need to provide them with your contact information and let them know what organs or tissue you’re willing to donate. It’s important to note that not all hospitals are equipped to handle organ donations, so be sure to check with your chosen facility ahead of time.
Finally, be sure to keep your registration and hospital information up-to-date in case anything changes. And above all else, don’t forget to tell your loved ones about your decision – it may be the most important thing you ever do.
4. Arrange the Funeral Service
Once you have made the basic arrangements with the funeral home or mortuary, you will need to start making decisions about the service. You will need to decide what kind of service you want, how long it should be, and what type of music should be played. You will also need to write an obituary and arrange for any flowers or other decorations that you want at the service.
5. Obtain Certified Copies of the Death Certificate
One of the steps that is often overlooked initially is ordering the death certificate. You will need to order copies of the death certificate.
This is needed to recover certain assets, such as life insurance policies, and, in many Texas counties, to start the probate process.
The death certificate is usually not ready in Texas for a few days or even a few weeks after death. If the medical examiner is conducting an investigation, this process can take even longer. This is why it can be helpful to go ahead and order copies sooner rather than later.
After you have obtained certified copies of the death certificate, you will need to give them to various institutions and organizations. These include banks, insurance companies, government agencies, and employers.
6. Notify Social Security Administration and Pension Administrators
It’s important to notify the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) and any pension administrators of a death as soon as possible.
This will ensure that benefit payments are stopped and that the deceased person’s social security number is not used fraudulently. To notify the SSA, you’ll need to provide the deceased person’s social security number, date of death, and proof of death (such as a death certificate). You can do this by calling the SSA at 1-800-772-1213 or visiting your local SSA office.
Notifying pension administrators will vary depending on the plan. You may need to provide the deceased person’s social security number, date of death, and proof of death. Contact the pension administrator for more information on what is needed to notify them of a death.
7. Coordinate with Family Members to Notify Friends and Family of the Passing
When a loved one dies, it is important to notify friends and family as soon as possible. This can be a difficult and emotional task, so it is often helpful to coordinate with other family members.
There are a few different ways to notify people of the death. You can call or visit each person individually, or you can send out written notice. If you choose to call, it is often helpful to have a script ready so that you can deliver the news as concisely as possible. You will likely need to share the date and time of the funeral service as well as any other pertinent information.
If you choose to visit people in person, be sure to bring along any written notice that you would like to share. It is also important to be prepared for reactions that range from shock and disbelief to anger and sadness. Give people the time and space they need to process the news and express their grief.
It is also important to consider how you would like to receive support during this difficult time. Some people find comfort in being surrounded by loved ones, while others prefer some space and privacy. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, so do what feels best for you.
8. Coordinate Care for Dependents and Pets
If your loved one had pets, it is important to make arrangements for their care. Many people choose to designate a friend or family member as their pet’s guardian in their will. However, it is also important to make sure that the pet’s guardian has the means to care for the pet financially.
If your loved one had dependent children, you will need to make arrangements for their care according to the deceased’s will. Many people set up a trust fund for their children’s care or purchase life insurance policies that name the children as beneficiaries.
Losing a loved one is never easy, but it’s important to make sure their affairs are taken care of promptly and with respect. We hope that this article has been helpful in providing guidance on the necessary immediate arrangements that should be considered after a death. It can also be beneficial to seek out professional advice if you need assistance navigating all the paperwork or legal requirements associated with handling your loved one’s estate. Doing so may help provide some comfort as you take these steps forward in making final arrangements.
Do You Need an Experienced Probate Attorney to Help?
When a loved one dies, there are many things that need to be taken care of in a short amount of time. One of the most important things to do is to hire an experienced probate attorney.
A probate attorney can help you with the legal process of probate, which is the process of distributing a person’s assets after they die. They can also help you with any legal issues that may arise during this time, such as disputes over the will or estate. An experienced probate attorney can also help you navigate through this difficult time and make sure that everything is taken care of properly.
Our Houston Probate Attorneys provide a full range of probate services to our clients, including helping with disputes between heirs. Affordable rates, fixed fees, and payment plans are available. We provide step-by-step instructions, guidance, checklists, and more for completing the probate process. We have years of combined experience we can use to support and guide you with probate and estate matters. Call us today for a FREE attorney consultation.
The content of this website is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The information presented may not apply to your situation and should not be acted upon without consulting a qualified probate attorney. We encourage you to seek the advice of a competent attorney with any legal questions you may have.