The death of a loved one may come as a surprise or it can be expected following a terminal illness. However, it’s never easy to process. It’s important to take adequate time to grieve, but there are also decisions to make regarding the funeral, memorial services, and the processing of remains. You also have to determine the best course of action for dividing assets and continuing your life without this special person in your life.
There are many things to consider after the passing of a loved one, and you can be overwhelmed with all the information you read and the duties that are expected of you. To make it simple, consider these three factors.
Decide Between Burial and Cremation
Although it’s never fun to make the decisions, someone must choose between burial or cremation. First and foremost, consider the wishes of the deceased. They may have specified their preferences in their last will and testament or in a conversation before they passed, and you should honor what they requested.
However, not everyone has the decision laid out for them. In that case, there are many factors to consider when making this choice.
Burial is the more traditional option. You may choose to go this route if you prefer a funeral service with a casket. Many people also want the ability to visit their loved one’s grave anytime they want, which you only get with burial.
Burial may be more common, but cremation is a rapidly growing option, primarily because of its cost. According to Legacy Cremation Services, you can cremate a body for less than $1,000 while a burial can cost upwards of $10,000.
Cremation also affords you the option of a memorial service without a body present, which many people prefer. Although you won’t be able to visit the body in a cemetery, you can spread the ashes in a meaningful place, and visiting that location will be like visiting your loved one. It all depends on the kind of closure you’re seeking.
Divide the Assets
Division of the deceased’s assets is simple if there’s a last will and testament. This legally binding document will determine who gets the house, savings account, vehicles, boats, and other assets without argument.
You don’t have to be wealthy to take out a last will and testament, and many people plan their estate as a precaution of an unexpected passing. However, many people don’t plan for their untimely demise, and you must be the one to determine where their assets should go.
It’s best to hire an attorney to help you through this process. Your family members might have great relationships with each other, but things change when people are mourning. Tensions can rise, and it’s helpful to have an attorney and/or mediator present to help resolve disputes and handle the legal transfer of assets.
Obtain a Death Certificate
The federal government mandates that following the passing of a loved one, you need a death certificate. This piece of paper is recorded in national registries and helps to eliminate identity fraud and facilitate other legal matters.
The death certificate is often presented at the time of death if you’re in a hospital or a coroner was called to the scene. However, if the death did not involve medical intervention, such as the case of an elderly person passing away in their sleep, you will need to request a death certificate from your local registrar.
You may need a certified copy of the death certificate to help you in the process of funeral services and dividing assets. So, although you have several weeks to file for the certificate, it may be helpful to get it right away.
These three steps will get you started on a long journey of healing and reorganizing your life. Things are never easy when you’re mourning, but organizing yourself now will simplify the process and help you get back on track.