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Navigating Loss: A Guide on What to Do When Someone Dies

Losing a loved one is undoubtedly one of life’s most difficult experiences. Amid grief, it can be challenging to navigate the practicalities and emotional turmoil that follows. We’ve crafted this comprehensive guide, “Navigating Loss: A Guide on What to Do When Someone Dies,” to support this overwhelming time.


With empathy and understanding, we’ll walk you through the steps you need to take after the loss of a loved one. From notifying the necessary authorities and organizing a funeral to handling legal matters and managing your emotional well-being, we’ve got you covered.

This guide addresses common questions and concerns to provide clarity and peace of mind. We strive to empower you to make informed decisions and find solace amidst the pain.

Whether you’re looking for practical advice or emotional support, “Navigating Loss” is here to assist you every step. Trust us to guide this challenging grief journey so you don’t have to face it alone.

Understanding the Grieving Process

Grief is a deeply personal and unique experience. It is essential to acknowledge that you are expected to feel a wide range of emotions during this time, from sadness and anger to guilt and confusion. Understanding the grieving process can help you navigate these emotions and find ways to heal.

1. Shock and Denial: The initial response to the loss of a loved one is often shock and denial. It’s common to feel numb and have difficulty accepting the reality of the situation. This stage helps protect us from being overwhelmed by the intensity of our emotions.

2. Anger and Guilt: As the shock wears off, it is expected to feel anger and guilt. You may feel angry at the person who passed away, yourself, or even the world. Guilt may also arise, questioning whether you did enough or said the right things. It is important to remember that these emotions are a natural part of the grieving process.

3. Sadness and Depression: The sadness and depression stage is when the reality of the loss starts to sink in. It is expected to experience deep sadness and a sense of emptiness. You may find yourself crying frequently or withdrawing from activities you once enjoyed. This stage can be particularly challenging, but allowing yourself to feel and express your emotions is essential.

4. Acceptance and Moving Forward: Eventually, with time and support, you will reach a stage of acceptance. This doesn’t mean forgetting or getting over the loss but instead finding a way to live with it. You will start to find moments of peace and begin to rebuild your life while still carrying the memory of your loved one with you.

What to Do When Someone Dies Checklist

what to do when someone dies checklistLosing a loved one can leave you feeling overwhelmed and unsure of what steps to take next. To help you navigate this challenging time, we’ve compiled a checklist of important tasks to consider when someone you love passes away.

  1. Notify the necessary authorities and obtain a death certificate.
  2. Contact close family and friends to inform them of the passing.
  3. Seek emotional support from loved ones or professional counselors.
  4. Research and select a funeral home to assist with the arrangements.
  5. Decide on burial or cremation and plan the funeral or memorial service.
  6. Obtain multiple certified copies of the death certificate for legal purposes.
  7. Review the will and estate, and seek legal advice if necessary.
  8. Notify banks, insurance companies, employers, and other relevant institutions.
  9. Keep a record of all communications and documents related to the deceased’s affairs.

What to do when someone dies at home

The following procedure can be used in an “expected” death with a terminal condition. 

what to do when someone dies at homeFirst, ascertain that the person has died. Check for a pulse and signs of breathing, and note whether the body is still warm. If you are certain that the person is dead, sit down and consider next. An expected death is not an emergency. You need not do anything right away. If you wish, sit with the deceased person and reflect on the times shared. Do you want to call a friend or family member to be with you? This may be the last quiet time you will have with the deceased person before medical and funeral protocols begin. When you are ready, call the appropriate agency. 

Whom should you call? What information do you need to have available? 

There are only two choices of whom to call. Call the hospice if the deceased was served by a hospice (Hospicare in Tompkins County). A person with appropriate authority will come, pronounce the death, and put funeral plans into motion.

If the deceased was not in hospice, then prepare to call 911. 

You will need to have some information ready.

  1. Did the deceased have an Out-of-Hospital DNR order or a MOLST form? If so, find it and have it on hand—[Note: It is important to have the DNR on hand if you call 911. Otherwise, when the EMTs arrive, they will attempt to resuscitate a body that is still warm, even if there is no pulse or breathing. A MOLST form (Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment) also has legal force at home, but a living will, or health care proxy is NOT valid in a home setting.]
  2. What is the name of the deceased’s physician, and what funeral home or cremation service is to be called? If you do not know which funeral home or cremation service to use, the body will be taken to the morgue and picked up there by the funeral home after one is chosen.
  3. Find and present either a list of the person’s medications or the prescription containers.
  4. Make the 911 call, but tell the 911 operator that the person has died, expected death, and no emergency exists.
  5. Present the DNR to the EMTs when they arrive. They will ascertain that the person has died and contact the funeral home.
  6. Be prepared to deal with law-enforcement people. Even if the death was expected and you were present, it would be considered “unattended” unless hospice was involved or a physician was current. The police or sheriff’s deputies will come to investigate.

You can talk with the funeral director about when the body will be picked up if you want more time with the deceased or if family members and friends want to say goodbye before the body is taken away; removal need not be immediate. This may be important to the survivors. A hospice worker or the funeral director can advise the family on temporary after-death care of the body in the home.

The procedure for unexpected deaths at home is different: you should call 911 immediately. 

Unexpected deaths include the death of a person “too young” or who is not known to have any terminal condition. They also include deaths resulting from accidents or foul play, or suicide. EMTs will come and attempt resuscitation. If that fails, police or sheriff’s deputies will come to investigate the death. It is important to find the medications the deceased was taking, as the police may want this information. If you do not have legal authority for funeral decisions, call a dead person’s family member immediately. You or a responsible relative of the deceased will be asked to give the name of the chosen funeral home or cremation service. Later the person with authority will convey decisions about funeral arrangements.

Then you will need to notify other relatives and friends. Here again, there is no immediate rush. If it is dinnertime, wait until after dinner to call; if it is night, wait until morning.

The previous information points to the need for preplanning for end-of-life issues and funeral arrangements. Even with preplanning, when a loved one dies it is distressing, but planning does help.

What to do when someone dies in hospital

The first step is to notify the hospital staff and medical professionals. Then, it would help if you made arrangements for the body, such as contacting a funeral home or crematorium. You may also need to notify family and friends and handle any legal or financial matters related to the person’s death. It can be overwhelming, but resources are available to help guide you through the process.

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Claiming Life Insurance Benefits When Someone Dies 

The added benefits coming from a term life insurance policy together with living benefits could give much-needed money for the surviving family members following a death — in order to help uphold a particular quality of life, that will help be used towards paying for funeral expenses, or even to help finalize the deceased’s business affairs.

First of all, the insurance agency which sold the actual insurance policy ought to be gotten in touch with to identify exactly who the beneficiary is — or possibly whether there happens to be more than one.

In order to attain information regarding the deceased’s policy, you should be the named beneficiary or perhaps the executor of their estate. In the event that the beneficiary happens to be deceased and no secondary named beneficiary is recorded, the benefit commonly goes inside the estate in order to be utilized as directed through the will, towards their next of kin, or otherwise towards any creditors which are yet owed money.

Whatever the circumstance, whether you die at home, at home at night unexpectedly, or at home with hospice is beneficial to know what to do when someone dies.

Generally, the claim process at the insurance company ought to begin as fast as it possibly can after their death occurs.

what to do when somone dies with a will

What to do when someone dies with a will

If you are named in someone’s will as an executor, you may have to apply for probate. This is a legal document that gives you the authority to share the estate of the person who has died according to the instructions in the will. You do not always need probate to be able to deal with the estate.

Who do you call when someone dies of natural causes at home

  1. What to do when someone dieswho do you call when someone dies of natural causes at home? Call the doctor or 911. If a living will or “Do Not Resuscitate” order is in place, it may sound odd, but make sure the person is dead before you call authorities. …
  2. Once paramedics arrive and confirm the death, they may notify the local coroner or medical examiner.

After death checklist of responsibilities after death

after death checklist of responsibilities after deathIt can be overwhelming trying to figure out what to do when someone dies checklist pdf. Having an after-death checklist can lessen the burden. 

Here are some key steps to consider when a loved one dies:

  • Acquire a pronouncement of death
  • Alert friends and family
  • Implement burial plans (based on the will or last wishes)
  • Report death to Social Security and other government agencies 
  • Obtain certified copies of the death certificate 
  • Identify all assets and liabilities 
  • File insurance claims 
  • Determine if there was a will
  • Close bank and brokerage accounts 
  • Send copies of the death certificate to major credit agencies
  • Terminate memberships and subscriptions that are not in use
  • Terminate health insurance policies
  • Settle a loved one’s outstanding financial debts
  • Notify election office of death

Remember that timing may vary depending on your circumstances. If this was an unexpected death, it might take longer to access all the required information to begin the final arrangements. This is another reason why planning early is important, so you know what to do when someone dies.

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About Coach B.

After starting his financial career with Phoenix Home Life Insurance Company back in 1992, Scott decided he wanted to provide people with an easier and more enjoyable way to buy life insurance. That was the start of Coach B. Life Insurance, whose mission is to be transparent, honest, and helpful to customers — without ever bugging or pushing them.

In the years since then, he has worked tirelessly to improve the process of shopping for insurance. His goal is to make sure that everyone who comes to Coach B. — whether they end up buying a policy or not — has the best possible experience.

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