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Getting Prepared For When A Loved One Passes Away

Submitted by: Winston Dunbar

Losing someone is no small matter, mainly because so many different aspects are involved at the same time:

– Emotionally, you have to deal with their not being around permanently.

– Physically, you have to adjust to everyday living without them.

– Mentally, you will have to psyche yourself up for doing their share of daily work such as house chores, bills and financial issues while trying to comprehend with matters that they used to deal with.

– Financially, you now have to make ends meet without their help. This is especially so for those who lose their working spouses for women, they may have to start working for extra income while men may have to work a second job.

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On top of that, you have specific tasks you alone have to manage such as the funeral and burial rites or cremation, estate execution, division of assets and property as well as future plans for the family, just to name a few. However you look at it, losing someone is definitely no walk in the park.

You will need to do some preparation when someone passes away. These tasks can be divided into:

1. Those that can be done prior to their passing. This is in cases when their death is anticipated, such as after a long illness.

2. Those that have to be done immediate upon their passing. This includes all necessary communication and documentation, and covers all circumstances of death, anticipated or otherwise.

Communication is the first thing you have to prepare. Knowing who to inform first is crucial in ensuring there is no miscommunication or hurt feelings later. Calling a cousin before the spouse, for instance, is normally unacceptable by everyone. This may, of course, be necessary in extenuating circumstances, such as the spouse is not mentally able to handle the news and the cousin is thus listed as the next of kin. To prepare for this, have a list of contact persons in order of importance within reach.

Otherwise, the first persons to be informed should always be the immediate family. This means spouse, parents and siblings, with the spouse right at the top of the list. If that loved one dies in hospital or some other medical institution, this part will be taken care of by their personnel, which is a big help. They will also be able to do the necessary documentation like autopsy request and report, death certificate and discharge of bodily remains and personal effects. If death happens elsewhere, call 911 and get them to initiate the necessary, after which you just need to follow whatever procedures that follow.

One of the most helpful things you can request from hospital staff is a list of funeral homes or crematoriums, as this will save you the time on having to look for one yourself. With so many things to do, it will be a good idea to get as much help as possible; in other words, if someone offers to do some communication, let them.

One of the things that most families disagree on is cremation. It is always good to find out beforehand, even for yourself, which type is preferred. Nowadays, many opt for cremation as more and more gravesites are being recycled with bodies exhumed for cremation every 50 years or so.

Another thing you must remember is to call your loved one s employer. This is when you need to find out the necessary paperwork that may be involved as well as the possible benefits family members might be entitled to. These include last paychecks, paid vacation time and unpaid expense claims. This is also the right time to find out about any life insurance policy your loved one has, who the beneficiaries are and proceed with the necessary steps for claims. This may be very overwhelming for you so getting some help from other family members or a lawyer friend will be a huge help.

Having a will helps a lot in distributing the estate as your loved one would wish it so. Getting this done, however, can be tedious so it is best you get a lawyer to do it instead of attempting it on your own, simply because you have tons of other things to do as well. Sometimes, it is good to involve those close to the deceased in these matters as it can help to ease their grief while you manage your own.

About the Author: Winston Dunbar is a foremost expert in hispanic estate planning. Visit his site for more information on

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