The death of a loved on is a very emotional time. But despite the need to slow down and grieve, most families are presented with multiple decisions that have to be made almost immediately.
The American Bar Association has teamed up with AARP and created the “Checklist for Family Survivors.” The Checklist is a guide to wrapping up the personal and financial affairs of the person who died. Author Sally Hurne recommends that the family immediately take these steps:
- Check the driver’s license to see if your loved one wanted to be an organ donor.
- Coordinate funeral requests, such as specific music or readings, or charitable donations in lieu of flowers.
- Determine if any part of the funeral was prepaid.
- Avoid listing the address of the deceased in the obituary, in order to thwart would-be burglars (and/or ask someone to stay at the home during the visitation and funeral.)
- Keep condolence card envelopes and email messages so you can acknowledge the senders later.
- Alert credit-reporting agencies of the death and cancel credit and debit cards.
The Checklist also helps families deal with longer-term tasks. These include gathering, organizing, and maintaining key information, and assembling a team of professional advisors to assist with estate related tasks.