FDP_InMemoriam_dan - Resized

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When a loved one passes away there are many things to do.  So many things in fact, that it can quickly become overwhelming.  Whether it’s sudden or after a long illness, you will experience grief and probably aren’t thinking straight.

My aunt passed away recently and this article provides insight from my personal experience.  This subject is not a topic that most want to think about but it is necessary and I hope it will be helpful.  One thing I would like to mention that helped me, is that when I was planning her funeral, the funeral director always referred to her funeral as a celebration of her life.  I loved that and it did help me get through it.  Another thing is, as I was going through hers and my uncle’s belongings, I learned more about them then I did when they were living.  There are so many experiences in a person’s life that they don’t think about to tell their loved ones.  These things that I learned about them made me appreciate them that much more!

Some of us have realized from past experiences how important it is to have a plan for the ones we leave behind.  This typically comes in the form of estate planning documents.  I was blessed that my aunt had the foresight to contact an attorney to create these important documents.  We will need someone to deal with our estate after we pass on, so they need to understand our wishes.  It could be 1 person or several depending on who we left behind that were named as personal representatives.  This person or persons will make arrangements for the funeral, as well as everything that needs to be done to close the estate.

The list below is not all-inclusive but should give you ideas of the things that need to be done.  My experience has been relatively painless. However I also know that no matter how well you plan, for anything really, some things may not go as smoothly as you would like.  Just be ready with your coping mechanisms to deal with the unforeseen.   And remember to hold on to your happy memories of your loved one.


  • Notifications :
    • Funeral home
    • Loved ones
    • Home – rental manager if renting
  • Pets
  • Remove cash & valuable items from the home
  • Funeral arrangements
  • Life insurance claims


  • Attorney – file estate planning documents with the state
  • Keep bills paid – mortgage, utilities, medical, etc.
  • Decision to sell or rent home

Long term

  • Empty contents of home
  • Contact real estate agent if selling home
  • Make needed home repairs
  • Distribution to beneficiaries