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Checklist and Guidelines

Important tasks to do when you lose your loved one

The first tasks:

If the death occurs at home, call a doctor to certify.

Contact the Funeral Home / Burial ground office / Crematorium office that is close to your locality.

In case of Family Burial grounds where you are entitled for the space, there are few formalities to be done with the authorities. Make sure you carry the proof. In most places it is the paper work that you have done with them earlier.

Call funeral undertakers. Communicate your requirements, discuss the time schedules.

Call Priests / Pastors / or the respective elders as required for the formalities.

Make sure you plan the Funeral Service / Burial Rites / Place of worship & prayer meeting /etc. Fix the schedule keeping in mind the time taken for the kith and kin to arrive especially if they are overseas.

Try and incorporate your loved one’s wishes if any as a part of the last rites. Remember this is a celebration of life lived.

Make sure you secure the Will

The first and the most important document that warrants attention is the Will left by your loved one who has passed away. It is very important that you obtain an original copy of the Will as soon as you can. There may be times that you will have look for it thoroughly to locate it. In case you are unable to do that, it is better to call the lawyer for a copy. This helps you in the legal formalities. Keep a copy for your records.

It is always a must to have a Will written. Check out all about Writing a Will. SoulPrints helps you get your Will written today.

Obtain a Death Certificate

Make sure that you obtain the death certificate. Make several copies, as it will be a requirement to submit copies in the process. This certificate is required to establish the fact of death legally, for relieving the deceased from social, legal and official obligations. It is also used to enable settlement of property inheritance, and to authorise the family to collect insurance and other benefits.

Secure the Residence and Property

This is in case of your loved living independently at her/his residence / property. You will need to secure the residence / property with complete access control with you and the other loved ones whom you deem necessary.

Find, examine and determine Receivables and Death Benefits & Taxes

This is a critical task as and when your loved one dies, you should investigate, find out, examine and determine receivables and death benefits. Who are the beneficiaries? How will they be paid? Who do you have to contact? These are the questions that you will need answers to. If you are having trouble with this aspect of settling your loved one’s financial affairs, get legal assistance. Check on the Life Insurances, Taxes and other documents.

For more details read Insurance and Taxes on SoulPrints

When your loved one passes away there will be some insurance and tax considerations. The most significant will be the life insurance policy that will need to be taken care of. This needs to be done immediately after death.

You need to start with contacting the insurance company or your friendly agent for instructions on how to file the claim.

The terms and conditions terms of life insurance policies vary greatly and it is important to know who the beneficiaries are and understand the payment options.

A person may have additional insurance policies such as automobile insurance, health insurance and as a house owner etc that will need to be dealt with.

In terms of tax, there are a variety of tax issues too that you will need to take care of.

You will need to file an income tax return the year that the person passed away.

There may even be a capital gain tax dues that needs to be taken care of if any real estate are sold.

And there may be property tax that owed on the properties owned by the decedent at their time of death, which may also be due. In such cases it is recommended that you use the services of an accountant and a lawyer to help handle administer the process including the distribution of the properties as per the Will.

Notify Bank and Credit Card Companies

When your loved one dies, it is important to notify the financial institutions such as Bank, Credit Card companies, so that they update their records, cancel credit cards. This will help in avoiding any unauthorised transactions and misuse of credit cards.

For more details read ‘How to close a bank account’ on SoulPrints

When your loved one passes away, one of the important things that you need to do is to close his/her bank account and claim settlement. This involves different procedures depending upon the type and the condition of the account held by the deceased.

When nomination is registered with the bank, it makes it easy for the nominee to claim settlement by furnishing the necessary details of the deceased account holder and other verification details as per the respective bank’s requirement.

In case of the nominee being a minor the responsibility lies with the person appointed by the account holder to act on behalf, furnishing full details as per the bank’s procedures.

If there are no nominations registered at all by the deceased, then the bank goes through the process of delivering the assets only to the legal heir/heirs, which will involve legal procedures.

In case of pension accounts which are usually held in single names are often found to be without nomination. This makes it tough for the claimants as banks will insist on paperwork that may be tedious but only to make sure that there is no dispute. Hence it is important to have all the necessary account details / verification papers etc.

To start this process, the first step is to notify the bank about the death of the account holder by submitting a letter.

The paperwork involved can be accessed from the banks, which usually is a set of documents.

The death certificate has to be attached to the claim.

In case of one claimant claiming the benefits, the other claimants if any needs to sign no-objection certificate.

In case the deposit / amount lesser than 20,000, the requirements from the banks are fewer and the documentation process is faster too.

For further reference one may consider going through the guidelines indicated by the governing authorities.

For ref:


It is always better to avoid complications in this process and hence pre-planning helps. Proper paperwork saves a lot of trouble. Writing a Will helps. Being organised with the important papers of yours as well as your loved ones is really important.

Notify the employer

Make sure you inform your loved one’s employer immediately. This will enable the employer to make the necessary arrangements for the final settlement, apart from finding replacement to take up the job duties of your loved one. Usually a letter along with the death certificate will suffice.

Secure the Residence and Property

This is in case of your loved living independently at her/his residence / property. You will need to secure the residence / property with complete access control with you and the other loved ones whom you deem necessary.

Identify and inform the Legal Heirs

You will have to identify and inform the legal heirs if any. This may include a spouse, biological children, adopted children, and anyone named as an heir in the decedent’s Last Will and Testament. It is better to take legal assistance in this process.

Cancel utility services

This may include telephone connections, cellular phone / wireless service providers, newspapers, cable TV service providers and other services as you see fit. Check these bills to be paid to avoid confusion later.

Inform Post / Mail office and collect the Forward Mail

Though we are in the age of internet and emails, it is important that you inform post / mail office wherever necessary. Collect the forward mails if any so that you can also inform them about your loved one’s death.

Take care / make arrangements for the pets

If you loved one is a pet lover, it is your responsibility to make arrangements for the pet/s. You may choose to board these animals or care for them yourself. If your loved one stipulated how the animals would be cared for in the will, follow those instructions.

You loved one’s life is a tale to tell. Celebrate her/his life story by sharing it with your family, friends and most importantly with your future generations. Create a SoulPrints tribute page for your loved one.


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