First Steps to Take After a Loved One Dies Suddenly

When a close loved one such as a spouse or parent, dies suddenly, it can cause a whirlwind of reactions and emotions.

It can be heartbreaking, devastating, confusing, and maddening. 

Then, as you’re dealing with grief and all the emotions that come with it, you still have to take on financial responsibilities that you may not feel equipped to manage. Although handling the financial logistics associated with a close loved one’s death is never easy, this article provides some first-step guidance. 

  1. Get several copies of the death certificate: This will help you with various other financial tasks you have to do. The funeral home may be able to provide a copy. If not, contact your state’s Vital Statistics office.
  2. Work with the will: Ideally, your loved one had a will, with copies stored in a safe location. The will should name who is able to manage the person’s final wishes, such as distributing property. Wills are filed with the local probate court. If there is no will or if it doesn’t name a person to help manage the person’s belongings, then the probate court will name someone to handle the estate. 
  3. Get in touch with insurance companies: To receive life insurance benefits, fill out the related claim forms. The life insurance company also will want a copy of the death certificate. Think about any other insurances that may need to be canceled, including auto, health, supplemental, etc.
  4. Get taxes done: Tax filings will need to be done on behalf of your loved one. This is something best done with help from a trusted accountant or tax attorney.
  5. Close checking accounts and credit cards: This will help ensure that any unnecessary charges won’t continue to accumulate on these accounts. It also helps cut the risk for fraud associated with the accounts if they were to remain open. If these types of accounts were in two names—say, your name and your spouse’s name—you’ll want to update them to appear in your name only.
  6. Notify credit agencies: Let the three major credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—know that your loved one has died. This is yet another way to help cut the risk of identity theft. Even after you do this, it still is useful to check your loved one’s credit report occasionally to ensure that a fraudulent account hasn’t been opened, according to an article from Northwestern Mutual.

If you’re still confused over what you should do, Secure Aging can help. Secure Aging specializes in money management for seniors, whether they’re facing challenges due to the loss of a family member or for health reasons. We are here to help.

Call Secure Aging to Find Out How We Can Help Seniors With Care Management

At Secure Aging in Bradenton, we transform the weight of the world into a sigh of relief for our senior clients and their concerned family members. The mission of Secure Aging is to protect and preserve our client’s independence and dignity through careful and thoughtful financial and care management. As our clients’ age, it is their desire to remain independent and age with dignity. Our services protect our clients from talented con artists looking to exploit and deplete the financial resources of our vulnerable seniors. Secure Aging helps families in Manatee County and Sarasota County and in and around the communities of Anna Maria, Bradenton, Bradenton Beach, Ellenton, Holmes Beach, Lakewood Ranch, Longboat Key, Myakka City, Palmetto, Parrish, and Sarasota. Call us at 941-761-9338, or visit us online at

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