person hugging and comforting senior

When a parent dies, there are a number of admirative tasks that must be handled. It can be challenging to manage these end-of-life tasks while dealing with grief. To alleviate some of the stress during this time, our senior care professionals have compiled the following guide so you will know precisely what needs to be addressed when someone you love dies.

First Steps: Immediately

  • Obtain a declaration of death. Depending upon your loved one’s location when he or she passed, this might be given by hospital staff, a hospice nurse, or the doctor in a long-term care facility. If you’re taking care of the person in the home without the support of medical professionals, call 911. EMTs will provide transportation to the hospital for a legal pronouncement of death.
  • Notify family and friends. There are a number of ways you can do this, based on what’s most comfortable for you. You may prefer to personally get in touch with every individual through a telephone call, email, or in-person visit. You may want to ask for assistance, designating others to contact a particular set of people (i.e. faith community members, friends from organizations the person was involved in, neighbors, etc.) to aid in spreading the news. Or you may choose to post on social media, allowing you make one announcement that reaches everyone in the person’s group of contacts.
  • Organize a meeting with immediate family members to go over funeral arrangements. If the senior had prepaid/preplanned final arrangements, review those plans with immediate family. If not, you can start the conversation on preliminary information: which funeral home you’d prefer to go with, the budget for the service, and any high-level details you want to make sure to include.

Next Steps: Within a Few Days of Passing

  • Finalize funeral arrangements. Using the information from your initial family gathering, meet with funeral home staff to work through the details:
    • Will the senior be cremated or buried?
    • What type of urn or tombstone might you want?
    • Where will the funeral or memorial service be held?
    • Who will write the obituary? Serve as pallbearers? Speak at the service? Take care of thank-you notes? Plan a post-funeral gathering?
  • Ensure the home and any belongings are safe and secure. Lock up any jewelry, cash, or other valuable belongings, as well as the person’s home and car. Furthermore, if the person had any pets, confirm who can take over ownership – ensuring they receive plenty of care and attention, as they will be affected by the loss and changes too.
  • Forward mail. The post office can set up a forwarding order so that the individual’s mail will be rerouted to the appropriate person handling their affairs. The designated person will also want to keep track of mail to terminate subscriptions and services, take care of any bills, etc.

Last Steps: A Couple Weeks After Passing

  • Pull together paperwork. Ask for ten certified copies of the death certificate, which will be needed to file insurance claims, close bank accounts, and more. The funeral home may help you with this, or you can acquire them yourself from the state vital records office. You will also need to locate the person’s will and determine who the executor is.
  • Meet with an attorney and CPA. An attorney, chosen by the executor, will ease the job of settling the estate and distributing possessions. A CPA can help with filing the last tax return on the person’s behalf.
  • Notify other entities. The funeral home should contact the Social Security Administration, but you will want to verify this. In addition, if the person had a life insurance plan, this is the time to file a claim. Talk to the person’s bank(s), stockbrokers, and financial advisers to determine the beneficiary of the accounts and provide a copy of the death certificate. You will also need to close any credit card accounts and get in touch with the DMV to cancel their driver’s license.

When a parent passes away, there is often a surviving spouse who is in need of care and support. Inspired Home Care’s professional Barrington caregivers are here to help. Let us help plan nutritious meals and snacks, provide compassionate companionship, assist with personal care needs, and much more. We can help so that you can focus on the many practical tasks that need to be addressed following a parent’s passing. Call us today at 847-787-7572 to learn more about our in-home care services. Visit our Locations Served page for a full list of the communities where we provide care.