Step 1 of 6 16% Name First Last Email* We protect your privacy. Please read our policy.You can do this.PreplanningImmediate StepsOne Week to One Month After PassingOne Month to Three Months After PassingThree Months to One Year After Passing Save and Continue Later Preplanning: Wills and Advanced DirectivesDo the work now to ensure a smooth process in the future. A well-thought out, organized pre-plan makes the haze of grief a lot less foggy. Advanced Directives Documents to express your wishes regarding medical treatment, often including a living will, created to ensure wishes are carried out should the person be unable to communicate with a doctor.Declare Advance Directives I have completed the Advance Directives. Update Your Will While important to ensure your spouse’s will is current, make sure your own will has updated beneficiaries. Update your will. I have updated my will. Organ Donation Process While the hospital takes on much of the organ donation process, be sure they are aware of your loved one’s wishes. A complex process, donation requires your consent, among other logistics. Talk to doctors for specifics.Make decisions on organ donation wishes. I have acted on organ donor process. What's next?What's the next step? Click next button when you are ready to do the 'Immediate Steps' Save and Continue Later Immediate StepsThis is a chaotic period. Follow these steps, one at a time, to get things done without feeling too scattered.Notifying OthersThis difficult task should be done as soon as you can. Once you get the ball rolling, others may chip in to help, which can be a great relief.Contact HospiceSelect hospice of choice. I have arranged hospice care. Contact Funeral HomeContact preferred funeral home. I have reached out to the Funeral Home. Notifying Family and Friends Recruit a friend and a family member to divide and conquer. This is an emotional phone call to make, so utilize your closest circle. They will welcome the chance to help. Notify relevant family and friends. I have notified my family and friends. Notifying Your Spouse's Employer When you make this call, you’ll also need to arrange to retrieve your spouse’s personal affects. Talk about exit paperwork, final paychecks, and provide contact information so that they can get in touch.Notify your spouse's employer of loss. I have notified my spouse's employer. Farewell Considerations and PlanningPerhaps the most overwhelming part, take a bit by bit approach to keep productive and calm. It’s a good idea to assign tasks to different family members and friends so you don’t have to do everything – remember, you really don’t have to do it all.Proceed with Pre-Planned Service (if in place)Move forward with pre-planned farewell service if already in place. I will proceed with pre-planned service. Funeral Service Preparation There’s a lot to plan when it comes to funerals, and it’s especially trying as you process the shock of death. Take a deep breath and follow this list. Broken down tasks help get things done item by item. It also makes it easier to pass off some of the duties. Traditional burial or cremation Determine final resting place Obituary Service considerations (religious, military celebration of life, etc.) Military service (customary components to full honors) Graveside ceremony Reception Develop funeral service plans. I have arranged the funeral service. "In Memory Of" ConsiderationsDecide on "In Memory Of" considerations. I have successfully completed this "to do" item. Get at least 10 copies of the death certificate from the funeral homeSecure copies of the death certificate. I have collected 10 copies of the Death Certificate. What's next?What's the next step? Click next button when you are ready to do the next process: One Week to One Month After Passing Save and Continue Later One Week to One Month After PassingThe bulk of work happens now. It’s a big month, and a good methodology will guide you as painlessly as possible.Grief ManagementDon’t neglect this critical concept. Grief management is an ongoing process that will morph over time as you learn different ways to care for yourself and your children.Listen to your Body Get physical exercise Follow a proper diet Do your best to get adequate sleep Pamper yourself with a healthy indulgence like a spa day or a special purchase Listen clearly to your body. I commit to self care during this time. Managing Relationships Ask for help. Let others assist you to accomplish tasks. Your loved ones want to support you, so allow them in. By the same token, be true to yourself and let others know if they upset you.Managing Relationships I have successfully completed this "to do" item. Estate Settlement Nuts and BoltsProbate Process Probate officially proves that a will is valid and authentic, and a legal recording is captured. This is done through a circuit court, and requires obtaining details regarding the estate.Begin probate process. I understand the probate process. Acquire Three Items for Probate You will need to have three items to begin the probate process: the will, death certificate, and all bequests, including values, from the estate. Acquire these three items for the probate process. See PDF for required documentation. I have successfully completed this "to do" item. Make an Appointment at Your Local Circuit CourtMake an appointment with your local circuit court. I have successfully completed this "to do" item. Formal Recording of a Loved Ones PassingFormally record the passing of your loved one. I have successfully completed this "to do" item. Insurance ProcessAlmost every important aspect of life involves insurance. This breakdown will help you suss out each step regarding claims and necessary policy updates. Locate Life Insurance Policy This critical document is something you may not have thought much about since you first opened the policy. Now, it’s time to file the claim, and go through the steps. Locate the policy and get in touch with the agency as soon as you can. Locate Your Life Insurance policy. I have successfully completed this "to do" item. Contact Life Insurance Agency to Begin the Claims Process Once you begin the process, decide how you would like to receive the payout: a lump sum, specific income, or life income. Your agent will be able to explain these options in more detail. Situational Considerations for Life Insurance If you lost your spouse in an accident: check if your policy has an accidental death rider. If you are employed: you may have additional life insurance through your employer. If you are a parent: evaluate and possibly adjust your life insurance plan. Contact your Life Insurance company. I have successfully completed this "to do" item. Contact Providers of All Other Insurance Policies to Update Them Update home, car, long term care, and any other forms of insurance. Contact providers of all other policies. I have successfully completed this "to do" item. Social Security BenefitsYou are entitled to your spouse’s social security benefits. If you’re younger, you’ll have to wait to receive payments, however. If you’re of age, you can get it now, which may help offset costs like medical bills and funeral expenses, or you can invest it for your own retirement. Here are the details:Filing For Social Security Benefits Visit your local Social Security agency in person to report the passing of your loved one. An appointment is recommended. You will need to complete form SSA-10-Filing as Solo Spouse. Bring the following documents: Death Certificate, Birth Certificate, or other proof of birth Proof of US Citizenship or Lawful Alien status US Military Discharge papers if service was before 1968 W-2 forms and or self-employment tax returns from last year, Marriage Certificate Accessing Social Security Benefits: If you are disabled you can collect 100% of Social Security as a survivor’s benefit starting at age 50. You can collect at any age if you are caring for a child of the deceased spouse who is under the age of 16, or want to collect an immediate one-time death benefit with a payment of $255. If you claim at age 60, you will receive 70% of your spouse’s benefits If you claim at age 66, you will receive 100% of your spouse’s benefits Filing for Social Security Benefits. I have successfully completed this "to do" item. Filing for Dependent Children Complete form SSA-4 and bring following documents: Death Certificate Birth Certificate of child / children or other proof of birth or adoption Marriage Certificate W-2 Forms and or self-employment tax returns from last year US Military Discharge papers Filing for Social Security benefits for your dependent children. I have successfully completed this "to do" item. Health Insurance and MedicareIt’s the law to possess health insurance, so you should contact your insurance provider or Medicare, depending on your circumstances. When it comes to your spouse’s care, bear in mind that expenses may take many months to process, so it’s a good idea to check in. If your family healthcare coverage was through your spouse, you have 1-3 months to retain find a new provider, or retain the current plan (which will still require phone calls). Update Your Benefits Ensure that your family retains health insurance benefits, or secure other options, within 1-3 months upon your spouse’s passing. If your primary form of health insurance was through your spouse’s employer, investigate maintaining coverage. If military, confirm what health insurance benefits remain effective and for how long. As necessary, research and purchase new health insurance plans. Apply for Medicare if eligible. Widows/widowers can receive reduced Medicare coverage at age 60 or full coverage at full retirement age. Update your health insurance. I have successfully completed this "to do" item. Steps to Closing/Transfering AccountsGather Important Information This requires a bit of sleuthing – you will need to find sensitive information to access your spouse’s accounts and update or close, as appropriate. Here’s what you’ll need to find: Passwords, bank account information, updated joint bank accounts, investment account statements, stock certificates, pension and retirement plan statements, loan statements, mortgage documentation, leases, insurance policies for home, vehicle, and long term care, and 529 plans. gather important information I have successfully completed this "to do" item. Check for Spousal or Dependent Benefits at EmployerCheck for spousal or dependent benefits from employer. I have successfully completed this "to do" item. Close Accounts or Transfer Ownership to YouClose all spouse's accounts or transfer ownership I have successfully completed this "to do" item. Notify the Three Major Credit BureausNotify three major credit bureaus I have successfully completed this "to do" item. Contact Local DMV to Cancel Spouse's LicenseContact local DMV I have successfully completed this "to do" item. Cancel Memberships, Certifications, and Licensescancel membership, certification and licenses I have successfully completed this "to do" item. Collect and Arrange Payment for Medical Billscollect and arrange payment for medical bills I have successfully completed this "to do" item. Remove Digital Footprint Social media accounts, cell phone plan, app accounts, and other subcription accounts. remove digital footprint I have successfully completed this "to do" item. File a Final Tax Return for Your Spousefile a final tax return I have successfully completed this "to do" item. Save and Continue Later One Month to Three Months After PassingHere, you start to take a step back and look at your daily life. What does your world look like now? What can changes do you need to make? This section covers lifestyle adjustments. Family FinancialsIt’s possible you have just lost half or all of your income source. Even if you have always been the breadwinner your financial situation has drastically changed – think, weekday afternoon childcare, for example. First, know that it’s going to be okay, and second, make a plan. Here’s what to do:Call Accountant to Help with Taxes This year’s taxes will be somewhat complicated as you must file a joint tax return even though you are a solo spouse. An accountant will help you navigate this part. call accountant to help with finances I have successfully completed this "to do" item. Create a Family Budget Assess Cash Flow Income / Pensions / Social Security Mortgage / Rent / Food / Utilities / Education / Entertainment Create Your New Complete Budget create a family budget I have successfully completed this "to do" item. Save and Continue Later Three Months to One Year After PassingLife is finding a new pattern. Still, there are adjustments that need to be made to help things run smoothly. These steps are larger, so don’t get bogged down attempting to do everything yourself, and remember to take your time.Solo Management of HouseholdHome life is more complicated now. Don’t try to do it all on your own; not only are there not enough hours, it’s probably not possible to both work and take your child to piano practice. If you can afford it, hire out some of the old duties, like lawn care, so you have time for your family.Childcare/Education/After-School Activities/Pet Carechildren/education/afterschool etc Develop House Maintenance Schedule House Cleaning HVAC-Major Systems / Gas / Plumbing / Appliances / Septic Filter Changes Garbage Lawn Create home maintenance schedule. Develop Car Care Schedule Oil Change License/Tags Personal Property car care schedule I have successfully completed this "to do" item. Legal SupportYou are now the holder of all family assets. To make sure these are managed well, and your family is prepared for the future, consult a legal team.Prepare New Will to Ensure all Assets are Protected and Appoint a New Beneficiariesprepare new will I have successfully completed this "to do" item. For Large Value Estates, Consult an Estate Attorney Estate lawyers are necessary since state laws rule estate plans Can help reduce estate taxes Can protect beneficiaries Can help protect assets for large value estate I have successfully completed this "to do" item. Consider Trusts if you Have Dependent Children Many people find it appealing to create revocable living trusts to hold assets, which in turn become irrevocable upon their death.consider trusts I have successfully completed this "to do" item. Financial SupportIf you aren’t a financial professional, it’s a good idea to consult one. Since the household rests on you now, an expert will help put your mind at ease.Assess Overall Financial Status to set Goals and Strategies Based on Past Success and Retirement Plansassess overall financial status I have successfully completed this "to do" item. Determine the Best Ways to Invest Insurance PayoutsBegin insurance claims process and secure new coverage. I have successfully completed this "to do" item. Interview Financial Advisors to Assist in the Investment Processinterview financial advisors I have successfully completed this "to do" item. Save and Continue Later Click here to download the PDF version.