San Francisco Bay Area Estate Planning & Probate Attorney
What To Do When A Loved One Dies. We can help.
Whether you received a 2 a.m. phone call with news of an unexpected death or you were present and shared your loved one’s final moments, your initial reaction to the death was likely shock. It doesn’t seem to matter how prepared we are – or aren’t – a loved one’s death often leaves us feeling numb and bewildered. If you’re responsible for making the funeral arrangements or being executor of the will, shock and grief can be immobilizing. Even simple decisions can be overwhelming.
When someone dies at home or at work
If a person dies at home or at work as the result of a sudden illness or accident, first call 911. If the individual has died naturally after a period of declining health and no trauma (injury or other unusual circumstance) was involved, contact a mortuary directly, and they will send someone.
If the deceased person had a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Decisions or an Advance Health Care Directive, the person they named as their agent is the one who has the legal right and responsibility to arrange for the disposition of the remains.
Making the first phone calls
You will need to notify family, friends, the deceased’s employer, if any, and clergy, if any. It may be easier on you to make a few phone calls to other relatives or friends and ask each of them to make a phone call or two to specific people, so the burden of spreading the news isn’t all on you.
- Social Security, to report death, stop checks, and check on survivor’s benefits
- Pension administrators, to report death and check on survivor’s benefits.
- Employer, to notify of death and check on benefits and final paycheck.
Locate and gather important papers
- Determine whether decedent left a Will or Trust. Gather other important papers, such as deeds, business agreements, tax returns, bank account statements, investment account statements, birth and marriage certificates, military discharge papers, Social Security number, vehicle ownership papers, loan payment books, bills, insurance policies, credit card statements, receipts for charitable contributions, and any other important papers pertaining to the deceased’s affairs.
- Determine if the decedent had a safe deposit box.
The Law Offices of Norbert U. Frost has the expertise to help you through every step of this process. Since 1983, Norbert U. Frost has helped clients and their families throughout the San Francisco Bay Area to handle their loved one’s estate, probate and administer their trust. We make sure the estate is processed properly according to your loved one’s wishes.
Contact San Francisco Bay Area Estate Planning Attorney Norbert U. Frost today at (707) 553-7356.