When someone you love dies, it can feel like time stands still. The world is moving on around you, but you are stuck in limbo, and the last thing you want to do is handle your lost loved one’s affairs.
Unfortunately, a wide range of personal, financial, and legal details need to be sorted following a death. On the plus side, you don’t need to handle all these alone, and you don’t need to do them all at once.
Read on to discover five considerations you need to make after the death of a loved one, as well as helpful advice on how to navigate the days, weeks, and months to follow.
1. How are you going to tell family and friends?
One of the first things that you need to do following the death of a loved one is to notify your family and friends. Although you will probably want to tell immediate family and close friends personally, there is nothing wrong with posting a message on social media or in the local paper to let the wider community know about their death.
2. What were the deceased’s funeral plans?
Your loved one may have already made plans for their funeral, sometimes without telling any other family members, so you should look for a letter from them. Alternatively, they may have had a prepaid burial or cremation plan.
If your loved one did not make their wishes clear, you will need to decide upon whether you want a funeral, burial or cremation for your loved one.
3. Did your loved one make a will?
If your loved one made a will, this can make sorting out their assets a lot easier, as it should name an executor. If you think they may have made a will, but you are not sure, search through their home and place of work to see if you can find it.
If you are named as the executor, then you will need to make a list of all your loved one’s assets as well as a list of any ongoing expenses.
4. Do you want a memorial service?
Memorial services, sometimes referred to as ‘celebration of life’ services, are becoming increasingly popular, especially for those who choose cremation over a burial.
A much less sombre affair than a funeral, a memorial service can be held directly after someone has died and can be religious or not. You can choose to have the body at the service, or you can place your loved one’s ashes in one of these commemorative memorial urns so that people can pay their respects after the body has been cremated.
5. How are you going to cope with your grief?
The practicalities of dealing with death aside, you need to make sure you allow yourself time to grieve and heal. While everyone handles bereavement differently, you need to make sure that you surround yourself with family and friends, as grief can be very lonely.
If you are really struggling, you may also want to seek the support of a professional bereavement counsellor, or you could join a local bereavement support group.