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Follow This Checklist After a Loved One Passes


After a loved one passes, the last thing you want to do is complete a list of to-dos. The pain and loss alone are overwhelming enough. Taking the time to work through your grief is a must. Yet there are, unfortunately, a number of tasks that have to be handled at different intervals after the individual's passing.

To help ease this process, we have put together a straightforward checklist and timeline of items to address.

What Do I Need to Do After a Loved One Passes Away?

Just after death:

  • For a death that was expected, talk to your loved one’s medical professionals. In the case of an unexpected death, call 911 or the Coroners Service.

  • Notify family and friends. Use whatever means is most comfortable for you. You can contact one person and ask them to spread the word, or it may be more cathartic for you to speak with each individual yourself. Use social media or email if that works best for you. There's no right or wrong way to accomplish this.

  • Contact the funeral home of your choice (or, if final wishes were preplanned, your loved one’s choice) to advise them of the death.

Within a few days:

  • Work with the funeral home and if warranted, the person’s religious organization to finalize plans for the service.

  • Determine who you'd like to help with funeral-related tasks, for example, writing the obituary, serving as pallbearers, helping with thank-you notes, and making arrangements for a post-funeral gathering.

  • Make long-term arrangements for any pets.

  • Contact the post office for a forwarding order for the person’s mail.

  • Lock up any valuables in the house and remove any perishable food.

In two weeks:

  • Register for and obtain at least 6 copies of the individual's death certificate (or, ask the funeral home to manage this for you).

  • Locate the individual's will and identify who the executor is.

  • Speak with a solicitor to discuss estate settlement.

  • Take a copy of the will to your city or county probate court office to start the process of ensuring the individual's wishes outlined within the will are followed and that all outstanding debts are resolved.

  • Make a list of all assets and bills, and cancel accounts: phone, internet, electric, streaming services, etc.

  • Contact a CPA to arrange for a final tax return to be filed.

  • Close the person’s email account, and either memorialize or close their social media account(s).

  • Notify the bank, financial advisors, and insurance company and contact Service Canada to notify of death and receive information regarding the Canada Pension Plan Death benefit, Survivors Pension and Children’s Benefit.


The Care Company is here to assist you through this difficult time if the individual leaves behind an elderly spouse. Our caregivers can step in to fill any gaps in care while you manage the numerous final tasks and arrangements needed. Contact us any time online or call us at (416) 422-2273 for assistance.

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