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What Do You Do When a Loved One Passes Away?

The death of a loved one can be a very challenging and emotional time. Plus, everyone deals with grief in different ways. There is no right or wrong way. The financial and legal aspects of it can be overwhelming as well. If you are not sure what to do or where to even begin, here’s a list that might help you navigate through some of this process:

1. Notify family members and friends. Ask someone to help you contact and reach out to other relatives, friends, business associates, your loved one’s attorney, accountant, financial advisor, insurance agent, etc.

2. Contact the funeral home and confirm planned arrangements requested by your loved one and/or make any necessary preparations.

3. Seek the support you need from family and friends. Speak with a grief counselor or therapist, if needed, or find community organizations that offer grief counseling services or support groups. Different websites like can help you find a Grief & Loss Support Group in your area.

4. Reach out to an attorney to help guide you through your loved one’s will and the probate process. If they did not have a will, meet with an attorney to walk you through how to handle their estate.

5. Obtain 10-15 certified copies of the loved one’s death certificate from the funeral home. You will need these for settling the estate, insurance claims, financial institutions and other agencies.

6. Make any necessary ownership changes to checking accounts, credit cards, mortgages, vehicles, etc. Make sure you follow Step #5 first as you will need those copies!

7. If the loved one was a spouse, you will need to update your will, beneficiary information, insurance policies and health insurance.

Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions or assistance you may need. We have created a Peace of Mind Checklist and binder to help organize important documents for when a major life event like this occurs. The checklist is broken up into eight sections that lists the necessary documents you should have on hand to make things easier for your family in case of an emergency or sudden death. Please reach out to your advisor or stop by our office and pick up a binder!

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