My Wonderful Life

Survivor Checklist

For a printable version, click here.

To Do Immediately After Death

  • Check for any written instructions for the body disposition, funeral plans and other details on
  • Notify Funeral home (if necessary)
  • Contact family, friends, and co-workers who may not be aware of the death (see your loved one's book for whom to contact)
  • Gather information for obituary and contact newspapers
  • Contact deceased’s employer 
  • Take security precautions
  • Assign a house sitter
  • Remove valuable items from deceased’s house
  • Forward mail
  • Cancel newspapers
Remove any jewelry from deceased

Funeral Arrangements to be made*

  • Select clergy
  • Choose funeral home
  • Decide the location of the service
  • Decide on place and time of funeral service
  • Inquire about special religious services
  • Choose a burial container
  • Choose a burial site (find burial property documentation of ownership)
  • Decide either outer burial container or crypt
  • Pick out clothing for the deceased (if necessary)
  • Choose scripture to be read
  • Choose individual(s) to read eulogies
  • Pick type of flowers and music
  • Choose pallbearers
  • Order a funeral limousine
  • Find type of religious, fraternal or military service of deceased
  • Choose the memorial type and inscription
  • Sign necessary papers for burial permit
  • Choose a charitable organization(s) to receive donations

Facts to Find for Obituary

(Many of these facts can be found in your loved one’s book.)

  • Given name
  • Armed services number
  • Date and birthplace
  • Occupation and employer
  • Mother’s maiden name and birthplace
  • Father’s name and birthplace
  • Those who have proceeded in death
  • Survivors and relationship to deceased
  • Hobbies, interests
  • Schools attended

Other Things to Do Before Funeral*

  • Meet with funeral director and clergy
  • Arrange care for infants or other minor children
  • Greet friends and family at service
  • Meet out-of-town attendees
  • Write a eulogy
  • Search for special wishes included in will
  • Keep a list of callers, flower tributes and donations
  • Provide lodging for out-of-town attendees
  • Answer phone calls and letters 
  • Pick out clothing for surviving spouse and children
  • Prepare your home for family and friends

Documents to Locate

(Check your loved one’s book to see if they left any information on where to find these documents.)

  • Will
  • Birth certificate
  • Social Security card
  • Military discharge papers
  • Insurance policies (health, life, property)
  • Citizenship papers (if appropriate)
  • Automobile title
  • Property deeds
  • Marriage license
  • Income tax returns (past two years)
  • Disability claims (if any)
  • All documents necessary for deceased’s taxes (ask your accountant)

Notify the Following*

  • Attorney, accountant, executor of estate
  • Cemetery and funeral home
  • Family members
  • Close friends
  • Doctor
  • All insurance agents
  • Religious, fraternal, civic organizations

Bills To Be Paid*

  • Funeral director
  • Family burial space
  • Clergy
  • Interment/burial services
  • Florist
  • Memorials
  • Funeral services
  • Limousines and funeral coach (hearse)
  • Refreshments
  • Clothing
  • Medicine and drugs
  • Musicians
  • Others (rent, mortgage, taxes)

Things to do after the Funeral

  • Obtain 10-15 death certificates
  • Contact your local Social Security Office
  • Call all possible pension or retirement services and insurance agents of descendant     to inquire about death benefits
  • Order thank you cards for flowers, donations, etc.

*All are only applicable if necessary. Check your loved one’s book to determine which arrangements to make.

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