What are the first steps to take to take after the death of a loved one?

Once you are ready to roll up your sleeves and start getting to work, the following tasks should be completed:
  • Locate estate planning documents
  • Look for any “memorial instructions”
  • Arrange for the care of any pets
  • Remove any plants and perishables
  • Secure the house
  • Make funeral arrangements
  • Schedule an appointment with an attorney to discuss the estate or trust settlement process
  • Don’t close any bank accounts or roll over any IRAs, 401(k)s or other retirement plans
  • Don’t drive the decedent’s car (unless you are the surviving spouse and the car was owned jointly with rights of survivorship)
  • Don’t remove any household furnishings
  • Don’t pay any of the decedent’s bills
  • Don’t use the decedent’s credit cards
  • Don’t contact life insurance companies
  • Don’t use any Power of Attorneys
  • Begin making an inventory of the deceased’s assets and liabilities and make note if any of them are time sensitive