Many people find that having a checklist of decisions to be made and tasks to be done when a death occurs helps them to be better organized and, thus, reduces some of the anxiety associated with an emotional time. We hope you find this checklist helpful.

  • Decide who will do what tasks
  • Contact those who will take on responsibilities
  • Have someone write down every decision made and every action taken

Deceased’s basic personal information

  • Full legal name
  • Legal residence
  • Length of time at current address
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Citizenship
  • Health insurance information
  • Social Security Number
  • Occupation
  • Employment or business history
  • Marital history
  • Spouse’s full name
  • Father’s name
  • Father’s birthplace
  • Mother’s name
  • Mother’s birthplace
  • Next of kin, addresses, and relationship
  • Executor’s name and contact information
  • Attorney’s name and contact information
  • Doctor’s name and contact information

Deceased’s obituary information 

  • High school attended
  • University attended
  • Military record
  • Family history
  • Work or professional history
  • Religious activities and affiliations
  • Civic activities
  • Special awards and accomplishments
  • Hobbies, activities and interests
  • Charities and other special requests

Contacts before disposition

  • Relatives and friends
  • Religious groups
  • Organizations of which deceased was
    a member:

    • Professional groups
    • Unions
    • Civic groups
    • Political groups
  • Professionals that were close to deceased
  • Places of prior employment

Disposition choices

  • If deceased was a veteran, determine eligibility for Veterans burial benefits
  • Determine if deceased had a prepaid funeral contract
  • Who will make disposition arrangements?
  • Choose burial or cremation or body donation
  • Choose type of service (funeral with or without a visitation), memorial service, graveside service)
  • Decide on funeral home or those who will act as funeral director
  • Set time and date of service

Disposition choices (continued)

  • Choose location of service
  • Discuss need for preparation/ refrigeration/embalming
  • Decide on viewing (none, family only, public)
  • Decide on visitation with family
  • Discuss casket or cremation container
  • Discuss grave liner/burial vault or cremation urn, if desired
  • Choose a cemetery or place of burial, if needed
  • Arrange for burial plot or columbarium niche (unless ashes are to be scattered)
  • Purchase grave marker (this can wait until later)
  • Discuss other funeral needs, such as:
  • Guest register
  • Funeral or memorial service programs
  • Acknowledgement cards
  • Floral arrangement (if desired for casket)
  • Determine whether any personal items are to be buried or cremated with deceased
  • Supply clothing for deceased
  • Select photographs and memorabilia to be displayed
  • Make musical selections for any services
  • Determine content of any services (readings, scripture, comments, etc.)
  • Determine whether donations are to be suggested
  • Locate religious or associational items to be used in services, if any
  • Make arrangements for reception, if any
  • Determine need for:
  • Hearse
  • Clergy car
  • Family limousine
  • Pallbearer limousine
  • Flower car

Documents that may be needed

  • Title to burial plot
  • Prepaid funeral contract, if any
  • Will
  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate
  • Insurance policies
  • Bank records
  • Deeds to property
  • Vehicle ownership records
  • Military discharge papers
  • Citizenship papers
  • Tax returns

Contacts after disposition

  • Doctors (primary care and specialists)
  • Dentist
  • Employer
  • Accountant
  • Lawyer
  • Banks and credit unions
  • Insurance agent
  • Financial/investor advisors and agents
  • Creditors
  • Those who owed money to the deceased
  • Pension plan administrator
  • Social Security Office
  • FCA of Central Texas if deceased was a member
  • Department of Veterans Affairs, if deceased was a veteran

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