4 Things to Do Following the Death of a Loved One

a person sitting on a bench

When a loved one passes away, it’s an extremely difficult time. You might feel lost or overcome with sadness, so it’s important to know how you will handle the death of a loved one when the time comes. Here are four things to do following the death of a family member or friend. 

Decide On Services

First, you’ll need to organize your loved one’s final resting place. He or she might have included specific instructions in a will or just let you know how to handle it before passing. Local, family-owned businesses like Heritage Cremation Providers will help you with everything you need during this difficult time in your life. This company provides a confidential and certified cremation and will help you obtain the death certificate and contact Social Security Benefits. 

If your loved one has chosen to be cremated, you can still hold a traditional funeral. The business will help you set up the funeral or memorial service. Giving family and friends a chance to say goodbye is very important, so make sure you provide some kind of gathering that allows them the chance to grieve together.  

Handle The Will

After you’ve held the service, you will need to handle the legal matters. This includes probate, which is the legal process of settling the deceased’s property. Most likely, you are the executor of your loved one’s will, so you will need to file with the probate court. During this process, the will is proven valid, the property is inventoried and appraised, the deceased’s debts are paid, and the remaining property is distributed. A lawyer will help you handle these matters and provide you with additional legal resources to better understand the process. 

Being an executor can be a lot of pressure, especially when you’re currently grieving, so consulting with an expert can help you feel more at ease. 

Take Care Of Family And Pets 

If the loved one had young children who are now left parentless, the will should state who is to take care of them. A guardianship clause gives the deceased the power to name who will gain custody of minors. It gets more complicated if the loved one did not include this clause. In this situation, the court will decide who is going to gain custody of the children and while this is being determined, the kids will be put into foster care. 

Your loved one’s pets will also need a new owner. This could be specified in the deceased’s will, or he or she could have previously arranged new ownership before passing. Check with other family members and friends and see if anyone agreed or is interested in caring for the pets. Make sure you find new owners for the pets as soon as possible since they will need care almost immediately after their owner’s death. 

Seek Comfort

Most important, you need to make sure you’re taking care of yourself. Losing a loved one is hard enough without also having to manage every aspect afterward. Take time for yourself after death and acknowledge your emotions. You need to give yourself time and space to grieve

Seek comfort and support for other family members and friends, and if you find yourself really struggling, go to a therapist. A professional can help you understand your emotions and thoughts and will give you the tools you need to work through your grief. Intense emotions or lack of emotions might be warning signs that you need a little help with your grieving process. Don’t be ashamed to ask others for support, especially if you’re handling the services and the will. 

A loved one’s death is never easy, but hopefully, he or she has prepared for this. Support your family members and yourself and remember that everyone grieves differently.