Planning the future for your loved ones

Steps to Take After a Loved One Has Passed Away

After your loved one has died there are a multitude of tasks to be done. Any power of attorney ends at your loved one’s death, so you can only do these tasks if you are a spouse or other designated agent, such as an executor. Even then, you may need to get letters of administration, representation, or testamentary from probate court.

  • If you are the spouse, partner, or next of kin and your loved one died without a will, you will need to get a letter of administration or representation.
  • If there is a will, the executor of the will must get a letter of testamentary. 

Most of these tasks are necessary to take care of your loved one’s remains and affairs, but some need to be done to protect you and other beneficiaries. Your emotional state may make doing these tasks more difficult, even to the point of being overwhelming; remember it is okay to ask for help.

If the death is expected, you have the opportunity to plan ahead for how you will complete these tasks. To reduce the stress after your loved one’s death, it is important to use this opportunity before their death to make plans on how each of them will be done. At this point, you could also assign as many of these tasks as possible to those close to you or get them done before their death, such as arranging and paying for a funeral and burial. After your loved one has died, you can put the established plans in motion.

When death is unexpected, you will likely be unprepared and may not be aware of many of the necessary steps. If there was no chance to plan, this can be a daunting task.

Here is a list that you, your family, and the executor can refer to so you know what needs to be done and can help you organize these tasks during this difficult time. Make copies of the checklist and spread out the tasks if you can. Keep the list in a convenient place so that you can check off tasks to keep track of what you have done.

General References