What do i need to do when someone dies

When someone you love passes away, it's normal to feel helpless. Who do you call, right? How do you organise a funeral if it's your first time to experience loss? what do i need to do when someone dies? Most importantly, how does one go about adjusting to the absence of someone who meant so much. Besides the usual funeral rites, the law prescribes certain formalities which have to be fulfilled before the body of the deceased is lowered into its final resting place. Though tiring and depressing, it all comes to an end eventually and, before you know it, you'll be back to your usual daily routines.

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Legal Pronouncement of Death

If death occurs in your home, the first thing you need to get is a legal pronouncement of death. Doctors usually do this forthwith, but because it's not the hospital, you'll have to call one. It isn't unusual for people to wrongly assume that someone has died when it's not the case. So, on arrival he/she will check for a pulse and attempt resuscitation. Once death has been confirmed, the body will be taken in for an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

The Coroner

The designated official whose primary responsibility is to confirm and certify death and issue a documentary confirmation of death. If foul play is suspected, a coroner will set in motion the relevant proceedings for an inquest. In the latter case, you won't be able to register the death until the inquest process is complete, conclusive or otherwise. Which means the deceased cannot be buried until then! If the cause is clear, the doctor signs the medical certificate, which you then take to the registrar. The coroner will only release the body for burial on completion of the post-mortem.

Funeral Arrangements

Most people these days have funeral policies which cover funeral expenses. If the deceased had one, this is the time to pull it out as a funeral is ordinarily expensive to organise.

After The Funeral: Making Follow-ups

There are a number of legal consequences that follow the death of a person. Employers need to be contacted for the release of employee benefits and an executor will have to be appointed -if not designated in the will- to handle the deceased estate. In the former case, if the deceased was in the military there's a pretty good chance that they'll have funeral benefits or standard burial arrangements. Insurers must also be informed of their obligations if the deceased had taken out a life insurance policy. So get an attorney to advise you in this regard as it's easy to make mistakes or overlook certain things.


Before, people didn't bother writing wills. However, considering the complications of not having one, most people do. Attorneys are usually entrusted with wills for safekeeping, so do your homework to ensure that strangers don't show up from the blue claiming to be heirs. A will must be checked for authenticity, so brave yourself for tough legal battles ahead as sometimes wills can be challenged.