What to Do When a Loved One Dies

6 Things to Do After the Death of a Loved One

The last thing you want to do after losing a loved one is worry about the administration of his or estate. Fortunately, Nevada law requires you to wait 30 days before initiating any kind of probate proceeding. This gives you an opportunity to focus on your family and grieve for the loss of your loved one. However, there are a few things that you need to do in the meantime to make sure that no problems arise in a subsequent probate proceeding.

Notify the Bank and Other Financial Institutions

To protect against fraud, notify your loved one’s bank, credit card company, and other financial institutions that he or she has passed away. This is an important step to make sure that no one will be permitted to withdraw funds or incur charges on your loved one’s credit cards. Inform them that the executor of the estate intends to close the accounts once the appropriate probate proceeding has started.

Notify Social Security and Veterans Affairs

If your loved one was receiving social security benefits or veteran benefits, notify the appropriate agency immediately. If your loved one was a war veteran, there might be survivor benefits or funeral benefits that could help cover final expenses. If any payment was made after the death of your loved one, the Social Security Administration and Veterans Affairs Administration will automatically reverse the payment after they are notified of death.

Collect or Forward Mail

Collecting your loved one’s mail helps to prevent potential identify theft from third parties who might have access to his or her mailbox. Also, collecting the mail can help you identify your loved one’s assets and debts as account statements and bills arrive by mail. If you do not have easy access to your loved one’s mail box, it might be a good idea to have the post office forward mail to your address.

Secure the Home, Vehicles, and Other Property

As soon as possible after the death of your loved one, you should make appropriate arrangements to secure the residence, vehicles, and other property. We generally suggest changing the locks to ensure that no one gains unauthorized access to the house. Cars and other vehicles should be locked in the garage. Do not let anyone remove items of clothing, jewelry, personal documents, or other property from the residence. You can inform them that they will have an opportunity to collect such property after probate is finished.

Determine if a Will exists

Locate your loved one’s estate planning documents. If he or she had an original will, it will need to be lodged with the court within 30 days of death. Other documents, such as a living trust, do not need to be recorded but will be needed to administer the estate. So, keep them in a safe location after finding them. If someone else is named in the Will as the executor of the estate, you should give them the estate planning documents.

Order Death Certificates

You will need death certificates for a variety of reasons when administering your loved one’s estate. They typically take 1-2 weeks, so order them as early as possible to avoid unwanted delays in administering the estate. It’s a good idea to have at least five certified copies of the death certificate. As many as ten might be needed depending on the circumstances, though.