Life goes on, and you’ll find yourself, to one degree or another depending on the day or time-of-day; feeling out-of-sync with what is going on around you. You’ll be faced with strong emotions, intermittent fatigue, still have to cope with daily life and also be responsible for taking care of many details related to your loved one's life and estate. Our guide to the early days of after a death of someone dear to you can help.
Practicing Good Self-Care
Immediately after the funeral or memorial service, you should give yourself adequate time to rest. While you may find sleep to be elusive, you can always just lie down and shut your eyes for a time.
Remember to eat, and drink enough fluids. Do your best to calm your mind. And when you are compelled to complete an important task related to the death of your loved one, never hesitate to call upon a friend or family member to help.
If you find you need more grief support, we offer valuable information for you here on the nature and purpose of grief, the varied experiences of grieving, and offer insights on ways you can help yourself heal after loss.
We also offer support in an on-going aftercare program to support you and your family in completing pertinent documents and ensuring your affairs are looked after. Please call us to learn the many ways we can assist you after the funeral.
Dealing with Practicalities
There are certain practical matters you’ll need to attend to after the death of a loved one. A brief overview of these could include:
Finding the Will
You have to have the original; the court won’t accept a copy. Then you’ll have to register the will at the local probate office.
Locating Assets and Determining Liabilities
That is, locate all the essential information about your loved one’s assets and liabilities: insurance policies, bank accounts, retirement accounts, investments and loans. You’ll need all these to manage upcoming transactions and to notify the financial providers.
Contacting their Employer
This will help you handle retirement plan distributions, employer-purchased insurance payouts and ensure that any vacation pay due goes to beneficiaries.
Keeping Your Eye on the Mail Box
Chances are good something will eventually arrive about an account or loan the deceased had, and there may be assets that aren’t even known to the family. Take the time to cancel magazine subscriptions, catalogs, and anything else arriving by mail regularly.
Paying the Bills
Don’t let anything get by you and slip into collections. Make sure you’ve arranged to wrap up any outstanding liabilities: the monthly utility bill, the mortgage, credit card bills, or car loans.
Filing Tax Returns
It’s true that nothing is certain except death and taxes. Without fail, you will eventually have to send in federal and state income tax returns and possibly estate tax returns. It may benefit you to turn these tasks over to a certified accountant.
Consulting a Lawyer
When things are really complex, or if you’re just not comfortable handling an estate, you may want to bring in an estate attorney. At the very least, check in with one after you’ve completed what you can. We’d recommend telling them what you’ve done, and asking them if you’ve missed anything along the way. Chances are, they can tie up any loose ends in an hour or two – and the peace-of-mind you’ll receive in return for their fee is well worth the price.
For further information about the legalities of death, click here.