To Do List Upon the Death of a Loved One

Guidance at a Difficult Time

The days and weeks that follow the death of a loved one are chaotic and distressing. You may feel overwhelmed at a time when you are mourning your loss. Drawing on more than three decades of experience, Walser & Herman Law Firm provides the compassionate and practical guidance you need. Our goal is to help you complete all the necessary tasks while easing the burden on you and your family.

Family To-Do List

Walser & Herman Law Firm offers this helpful to-do list of tasks you will be completing in the days immediately following your loved one’s death. Your family can work on accomplishing these tasks together as part of the mourning process.

  • Notify relatives and friends: Reach out to people who would want to know of your loved one’s death. You might enlist the assistance of your other close family members to make sure you notify all of the people who were important to your loved one.
  • Plan the funeral and reception: A funeral director can help you make choices that reflect the personality and religious and cultural preferences of your loved one. Picking out a location, flowers, readings, music and food may actually be cathartic because these activities give you a chance to honor your loved one’s memory.
  • Arrange for burial or cremation: Depending on your loved one’s wishes, you must arrange for the body to be buried or cremated. Burial includes choosing a cemetery and purchasing a plot. If your loved one is cremated, you may decide to spread the ashes in a meaningful location or plan for the remains to be placed in an urn.
  • Submit an obituary to the local paper: Think about how your loved one would want to be represented and draft the obituary accordingly. If he or she has ties to several locations, such as a hometown and a current residence, consider sending the obituary to a paper in each location.
  • Post an obituary online: In today’s online world, most people have Facebook, Twitter, a blog or other active social media accounts. This may be a good way to reach out to close friends, including some you do not personally know.

Personal Representative To-Do List

Often, the decedent names a close friend or a trusted family member as the personal representative. Although the personal representative is in charge of administering the estate, different family members may be helpful in handling certain tasks to probate the estate more efficiently. We cover this to-do list in more detail on other pages of this site, but in general, the heirs should:

  • Locate and file the will with the Florida probate court
  • Collect important documents, such as life insurance and financial statements
  • Gather, valuate and inventory assets
  • Claim unpaid salary and benefits from your family member’s employer
  • Cancel phone, cable, gym, magazine and other accounts and subscriptions
  • Transfer funds from your loved one’s banking and securities accounts into the estate’s accounts
  • Pay bills, including the mortgage and insurance
  • Upkeep property, such as maintenance on the home

Consult with Our Dedicated Wills & Trust Lawyers

Boca Raton and Palm Beach based Walser & Herman Law Firm can give you guidance during the difficult time following your loved one’s death. Call our caring attorneys at 561.750.1040 or send us an email to schedule an appointment at our main office in Boca Raton or our Palm Beach office location.


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