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Things to do Following the Funeral Service

It is sometimes difficult to know what to do after a funeral service. Use this list to help guide next steps!
  • Certified copies of the death certificates received.  Please inform if you need additional copies.
  • Acknowledgment cards written and sent:
    1. To those who sent flowers or brought food
    2. To those who served as pallbearers
    3. To those who assisted as musicians, custodians, altar assistants, lunch providers, etc.
    4. To clergy or others who may have spoken at the service
    5. To those who made memorial contributions
  • For any legal questions, notify an attorney.  He/She will discuss with you probating the will, inheritance and estate taxes, etc.  He/She will also help you draw up or update your own will. File your will at the local County Clerk’s office.
  • Notify insurance companies and file claims when appropriate:
    1. Life Insurance, Medical, Health, Disability, Travel, and Accident
    2. Pension Benefits
    3. Home Owners
    4. Change Automobile Insurance
    5. Change the Beneficiary on your own life insurance policy if the prior beneficiary was the deceased
  • Notify current employer or pension provider of death.  Check on group insurance benefits, survivor’s benefits, profit sharing, and or pension monies that you may be entitled to:
    1. Civil Service Employees and/or Federal Employees
    2. U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Retirement Operations Center, PO Box 45, Boyers, PA 16017, or by phone 888.767.6738 or 724.794.2005
    3. Former Employers
    4. Union Representative (if deceased was a union member)
    5. Professional and fraternal organizations
  • Apply for appropriate benefits when applicable:
    1. Pension Benefits
    2. Railroad Retirement Benefits (800.808.0772)
    3. Worker’s Compensation Benefits
  • Notify the Department of Motor Vehicles to transfer titles of all registered vehicles, mobile homes, and boats registered in the deceased’s name. The form can be obtained at the local DMV.
  • Notify Financial Advisor / Stockbroker:
    1. Check with your advisor to see how many copies of the death certificate will be needed
    2. Change ownership of joint or solely owned stocks
    3. Cancel any open orders arranged by deceased 
  • Notify Bank:
    1. Change all jointly held accounts and amend tax identification numbers
    2. Cancel direct deposit retirement benefit payments
    3. Re-establish name on safety deposit box, mortgages, loans, notes, etc.
    4. If you bank with a credit union, check to see if they supply a life insurance benefit
  • Notify credit card companies.  Some credit cards carry credit life insurance
  • Notify accountant (unless estate lawyer is preparing final tax returns).  Provide certified copies of the death certificate, previous filed tax return forms and current earnings and dividend statements
  • Cancel appointments made by deceased
  • Return any medical equipment
  • Notify schools, colleges, professional organizations regarding death
  • If the deceased was a member of a labor union, notify the union and inquire about any benefits survivors are entitled to
  • Keep an up-to-date accounting of all cash, income, and expenses
  • Collect any debts owed to deceased
  • Get hospital and medical statements as soon as possible
  • Pay all bills and taxes owed as soon as possible, such as funeral bill, income tax, real estate tax, home mortgage, hospital and medical bills
  • Make a review of your own financial situation
  • Be cautious about those who contact you to sell your merchandise, such as grave markers, cemetery space and merchandise, memorial Bible, etc.  If you are approached by someone in this regard, call us or someone else you can trust before buying
  • Referral Program Information
  • Please refer to the book given to you
  • Sample letter that may be used (mail certified with a return receipt requested)

Dear Sir or Madam,

This letter is to inform you that my (spouse, parent, child, etc.), (full name of deceased), passed away on (month, day, and year).  I understand that (he or she) may have been eligible for death benefits or survivorship pension benefits through your organization. Please inform me of whatever information and documents you may require from me as beneficiary.

Sincerely,

Signature (Type/Print name and complete address with telephone number)

3 Responses to Things to do Following the Funeral Service

  • Kylie Dotts says:

    It makes sense that it would be important to inform an employer of the passing away of your loved one after the funeral services. I think that it would be pretty hard to have to be the person to call and give the information that your family member has passed away but someone needs to do it. It might be a good idea even to do that before the funeral service to ensure that the employer knows well in advance.

  • Your advice to make sure to remember notifying the department of motor vehicles for the transfer of titles of all registered mobiles of the deceased is quite helpful. I would have honestly forgotten about this part if it weren’t for your article as I was busy planning a funeral service for my dad that’s expected to be happening by next month. Having all his items and vehicles transferred should make a number of things easier unless it’s already in his will. Thanks.

  • I didn’t realize that you should talk to the credit card companies after the funeral service. That seems like a great thing to do to ensure that there isn’t any debt that needs to be taken care of. Hopefully, that would allow you to keep yourself and your family free from that burden.

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