On February 15, 2015

Picking up from What to Do after Someone Dies: 10 Steps to Take after a Death (Pt. 1), below, we will identify the next steps people should take after the most immediate things, such as funeral arrangements, have been completed.

What to Do after Someone Dies: The Next Steps to Take

In the weeks following a loved one’s death, here are the next steps that are important to take:

5 – Get copies of the death certificate 

As you proceed with taking care of various issues and matters after a loved one’s death, it’s important to obtain multiple copies of the death certificate.

When it comes to what to do after someone dies, getting copies of the will and/or death certificate will be important. So too will be contacting us.

When it comes to what to do after someone dies, getting copies of the will and/or death certificate will be important. So too will be contacting us.

While it’s usually easiest (and most common) to get copies of a death certificate from a funeral director or funeral home, there are other ways to obtain official copies, such as by contacting the Vital Statistics Department (in the county where your loved one passed away) or the Colorado State Department of Public Health and Environment, Vital Records Office.

The reason that having multiple copies of the death certificate is crucial is that you will likely need to provide a copy to financial institutes, government agencies and other entities moving forward (as these organizations typically won’t do anything until they receive an official copy of the death certificate).

6 – Contact some specific entities

In particular, the following may be just some of the entities, agencies and organizations you may need to get in contact with after your loved one passes away:

  • Banks so that you track down any accounts and/or safety deposit boxes a decedent had
  • Investment professionals so that you can obtain a clearer picture of the decedent’s assets or holdings
  • Insurance companies so that you can submit the appropriate claims forms (when decedents had life insurance policies)
  • The Social Security Administration to stop any current benefit payments a decedent may be receiving and learn more about possible death benefit options for surviving loved ones.

If you are unclear about which entities to contact and inform of your loved one’s death, contacting an experienced estate administration attorney – like the ones at JR Phillips & Associates, PC – will be your best move. This is because an experienced lawyer can help you assess what entities should be informed of the death while helping you move forward with the estate administration process.

7 – Look for a will

If you know that your loved one left behind a will, then the next step in the process of what to do after someone dies will be to track down this will. Here are some helpful tips for looking for wills:

  • Look in safes, safety deposit boxes or even at an attorney’s office, as these are commonly places where original copies of wills are kept.
  • If you can’t track down the will, you may want to check with the local courthouse, as some people will file their wills with the court for safe keeping.
  • If you can’t find the original will, then a copy may suffice.
  • When no will can be found, it’s strongly advised that you work with an attorney who can guide you through the intestate probate process.

We also want to point out here that handwritten documents, lists and letters may constitute wills per Colorado law. So be sure to look for any informal documents related to your loved one’s final wishes regarding his estate if you can track down the official will (or if no formal will has been left behind).

We’ll wrap up this discussion regarding what to do after someone dies in the conclusion to this blog series that will be posted soon – be sure to look for it!

Denver Estate Administration & Probate Attorneys at JR Phillips & Associates, PC

After a loved one passes away, you can turn to the Denver estate administration and probate lawyers at JR Phillips & Associates, PC for help with the next steps. To find out more about how we can help you, schedule a meeting with us today by calling (303) 741-2400 or emailing us using the contact form at the top of this page.

From our offices in Denver, we serve clients throughout the southwest and southeast Metro Area, including (but not limited to) people in Highlands Ranch, Littleton, Castle Rock, Parker, Aurora, Greenwood Village and Englewood.

Categories: Estate Administration, Probate, Trust Administration, Trustees, Executors & Fiduciaries