What To Do When Someone Dies

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1 What To Do When Someone Dies This is a step by step guide to help you clearly navigate the death of a loved one and what you must do. Immediately- PRONOUNCEMENT OF DEATH g CALL CORONER S OFFICE OR DIAL 911- If the death occurs at home. If you are using hospice, they will help you. NOTIFY CLOSE FAMILY AND FRIENDS Ask them to help you with some tasks, including notification of other family and friends. CONTACT THE FUNERAL HOME & ARRANGE FOR BODY TO BE PICKED UP g according to the Coroner s instructions g according to the instructions from a hospital if the body or organs are donated g by the mortuary chosen for the funeral g by the crematory if you are going to cremate the body ASK PEOPLE YOU TRUST TO HELP WITH: g PHONE- have the deceased phone forwarded to your number and answer the phone. g MAIL- collect their mail and notify the post office to forward to your address. g PETS- make arrangements and care for pets. g SECURITY- arrange for someone to stay at the deceased s home during the funeral to guard against potential break-ins occurring while the family is at the funeral. g PERISHABLES- empty their refrigerator of all perishable items. g PLANTS-Take plants home or give them away. g PUT A FEW LIGHTS ON TIMERS- So the deceased s home does not appear empty. DID THEY HAVE END OF LIFE PLANS? (You may need to look through personal papers to find out) g Find out if the deceased had a PREPAID BURIAL PLAN g Find out if they belonged to a MEMORIAL SOCIETY g Find out if they had WRITTEN INSTRUCTIONS regarding her/his funeral arrangements

2 One to Three Days After Death- MEET WITH THE FUNERAL HOME Once you arrive, we will carefully walk you through all of the next steps. Don t worry, you ll have a great deal of support from here forward. You may want to ask a trusted friend or family member to come with you to advise and support you in making the funeral and burial arrangements. One of the first things the funeral arranger will do is to provide you with our general price list. He or she will then guide you through the entire arrangement process, explaining how you can create a memorable personal celebration. This is not a one-way conversation; we want to hear your ideas and desires, and use them as the foundation for the arrangement process. You may also sign necessary authorizations or make arrangements to have them signed by the appropriate family members. THE PROCESS OF PLANNING Next steps may include: g Possibly transferring the body to another location for burial or cremation g Preparing and filing the official death certificate g Scheduling the location, date and time of services or events g Selecting a casket, urn or other items g Preparing an obituary notice g Scheduling vehicles g Selecting pallbearers g Obituary Writing and Planning- We will show you examples WHAT TO BRING WHEN PLANNING THE FUNERAL SERVICE g Full legal name- Home address g Social Security number g Date of birth g Place of birth g Father s name g Mother s maiden name g Veteran s discharge papers (DD-214) g Recent Photograph g Highest education g Occupation g Place of burial (if applicable) g Clothing they will be buried in g Clergy name and phone number g Survivors (name and relationship) g Insurance policies (if applicable)

3 WHAT TO BRING CONT. Notes: Bring any photos or memorabilia that represents their life and passions so that you and your funeral arranger can better discuss how you want your loved one to be celebrated. These things as well as a list of their favorite songs and knowing their interests will help us create a truly fitting memorial service. Our funeral arrangers will assist you in planning a loving tribute that captures the spirit of the person whose life you wish to honor. To learn more about personalizing the service, please read the Honoring Life section of this Web site. One to Ten Days After Death- OBTAIN DEATH CERTIFICATE g The most common and quickest way to obtain death certificates is through the funeral director. g Request multiple copies so you have them in case you need them for legal purposes. g Each financial institution representing the deceased will require a death certificate. CONTACT THE FOLLOWING g LOCAL POLICE to occasionally check the house of deceased, if now vacant g AN ATTORNEY to learn how to transfer assets and assist with probate issues g ACCOUNTANT / TAX PREPARER to determine whether to file an estate tax return or final income tax return g AN INVESTMENT PROFESSIONAL to obtain information on holdings/assets g THEIR BANK to locate accounts and safe deposit box g THEIR INSURANCE AGENT to obtain claim forms g SOCIAL SERVICES to learn of any possible benefits g SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION to stop monthly check and learn of potential benefits g OFFICE OF VETERANS AFFAIRS to stop monthly check and learn of benefits g AGENCY PROVIDING PENSION BENEFITS to stop monthly check and obtain claim forms g GUARDIAN OR POWER OF ATTORNEY to notify of death and the end of their responsibility g UTILITY COMPANIES to alter or discontinue service g THEIR EMPLOYER to notify of death and learn of benefits g NEWSPAPER to stop subscription and/or submit an obituary g POST OFFICE if necessary, to forward mail

4 Begin the Paperwork of Finalizing the Estate Once you are ready to begin this next phase, know that it can be a slow process that takes months, even years to complete. So if you need to take some time before you dive in, it s ok. DETERMINE PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE: If you are nominated as personal representative in a will, you have the power, before you are appointed by the court, to carry out written instructions of the deceased relating to the body, funeral and burial arrangements. You may begin to protect and safeguard the deceased s assets. Do not remove or distribute assets before opening the estate. Other brochures are available from the Nebraska Bar Association to explain the duties of the personal representative and how the personal representative is appointed when there is no will. ITEMS TO LOOK FOR: g Funeral and Burial Plans g Safe Deposit Rental Agreement and Keys g Trust Agreements g Nuptial Agreements g Life Insurance Policies or Statements g Pension, IRA, Retirement Statements g Income Tax Returns for several years g Gift Tax Returns g Marriage, Birth and Death Certificates g Divorce Papers g Military Records and Discharge Papers g Computer Bookkeeping Records g Certificates of Deposit g Bank Statements, Checkbooks and Check Registers g Notes Receivable and Payable g Motor Vehicle Titles g Deeds, Deeds of Trust, Mortgages and Title Policies g Leases g Stock and Bond Certificates and Account Statements g Bankruptcy Filings g Partnership or Corporate Agreements g Unpaid Bills g Health Insurance Papers SEARCH FOR A WILL: The original will is usually in a safe place in the deceased s home, a safe deposit box, or in an attorney s office. It is also possible the will was filed with the court for safekeeping during the deceased s lifetime. When the original signed will is found, file it within 10 days with the probate court in the county where the deceased lived. If you are only able to find a copy of the signed will, it may be possible to offer it to probate. However, the signed original will is preferable. If a will cannot be found, an attorney can help guide you through the intestate probate process. Also look for a handwritten list of instructions, a letter to family or other similar documents. In Nebraska, these documents may constitute a will.

5 SEARCH FOR OTHER DOCUMENTS: The personal representative has the authority to search for any important documents. The search should include the home, office, place of business, and any safe deposit boxes. Meeting with advisors such as accountants, investment professionals, insurance agents, and attorneys is advised. Any information indicating that an asset exists or that bills are unpaid should be kept for use in the administration of the estate. ACCESS TO SAFE DEPOSIT BOX: Any person whose name is on the box may enter it at any time. An heir or beneficiary in a will can ask the bank to search for the will, a deed to a burial plot, or burial instructions. A representative of the bank will open the box in the presence of the heir or beneficiary and remove any will that is found. The bank will deliver it to the court by certified mail, registered mail or hand delivery, but consider asking for a copy of the will before they do. After the will is filed with the court, the personal representative named in the will can file a petition or application with the court to be appointed. BEWARE OF UNETHICAL SCAMS In the period following the loss of a loved one, be careful before accepting any telephone or mail solicitation. Carefully scrutinize invoices for validity, as it is possible to receive fraudulent invoices or requests for money or donations on the deceased s behalf. Avoid lifestyle changes for a period to allow for reflection on how the loss will affect the surviving family and friends. Notes: Connecting People ~Through Life ~Through Loss

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