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What to Do After a Loved One Dies


Knowing what steps to take after a loved one passes away can be crucial to:

  • Effectively carrying out a loved one’s final wishes.
  • Efficiently wrapping up the loved one’s affairs/estate.
  • Minimizing the emotional – and financial – stresses that can arise after a death.

Below is a general outline of what to do after a loved one passes away. While these steps can help orient you regarding what needs to be taken care of after the death of a loved one, don’t hesitate to contact San Fernando & Santa Clarita Probate Attorney Darrell C. Harriman for experienced help resolving any estate administration or probate matters.

After the Death of a Loved One: The First Steps to Take

  • Get an official, legal pronouncement of death. In the event that a physician is not present when the death occurs, then you may need to call a hospice nurse or 911 for this official declaration to occur.
  • Arrange to have the body transported (for autopsy or, if no autopsy will be happening, to a crematorium or mortuary).
  • Alert the county corner or the decedent’s doctor regarding the death.
  • Alert the family of the death. A helpful tip here can be to set up a phone tree or delegate some of this responsibility to other family members.
  • Make plans for the care of the decedent’s dependents (if applicable).

What to Do Next

After the most immediate steps have been completed, the next things to do after someone dies will be to:

  • Prepare for the funeral, burial, and/or cremation. Look for the decedent’s final wishes regarding his funeral, burial, and/or cremation in his will (or related estate planning documents).
  • Obtain multiple copies of the death certificate. These will be essential later when it comes time to administer the will, transfer the decedent’s assets to beneficiaries, and/or probate the estate.
    • In fact, the following parties are just some of those who will require a copy of the death certificate: insurance companies, financial institutions, govt. agencies, etc.
  • Contact an experienced estate administration and probate lawyer – like San Fernando & Santa Clarita Probate Attorney Darrell C. Harriman to find out whether probate will be necessary – and, if so, get experienced help moving forward with this process.

San Fernando & Santa Clarita Probate Attorney at the Law Offices of Darrell C. Harriman

Do you need help administering an estate or getting through probate? If so, the trusted San Fernando & Santa Clarita probate attorney at the Law Offices of Darrell C. Harriman is here for you. For more than three decades, our San Fernando & Santa Clarita probate attorney has been dedicated to providing his clients with personalized, highly responsive service, as well as superior representation for their important legal matters.

Let’s talk about your case and legal needs today. You can contact our firm by calling (818) 892-7093 or by filling out the contact form on this page.

From our offices based in North Hills, we provide the highest quality legal services to our clients throughout the San Fernando Valley, Simi Valley, Santa Clarita, and the greater Los Angeles area.

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