After the Funeral: What You Need To Do

How to Handle Estate, Financial and Other Matters

When we think about end-of-life, we often focus on what happens before and during the funeral. That’s understandable since celebrating the life of the deceased is extremely important. The trouble is, once the funeral is over, there are still many practical matters to take care of. Some of these tasks are strictly legal (estate matters), while others are more general and involve wrapping up the deceased’s business affairs.

If you are thinking ahead to what will happen when your time comes, maintaining organized personal records is the most helpful thing you can do for the loved ones who will be responsible for these tasks following your death.

If you are handling post-funeral tasks for a loved one, remember to tend to your own needs. Seek support as you go. Consider joining support groups or seeking professional counseling to help you navigate this difficult time. Take your time, be easy on yourself, and above all, ask for help if you need it.

>>Visit Our Coping with Grief page

Things To Take Care Of After the Funeral: Estate Matters and Other Details

  1. Thank you notes: It is customary to send thank you notes to those who offered their condolences, sent flowers and donations, or provided support during this difficult time.
    >>Visit our page Sending Thank You Notes After a Funeral
  2. Secure copies of the death certificate: Request at least ten (10) copies since you will need this document for many of the tasks you have to accomplish.
  3. Make long-term arrangements for dependents: If there are dependents, ensure there is a long-term care plan for how these individuals. Consult an attorney to make sure you take legal requirements into consideration.
  4. Make long-term arrangements for pets: If there is no long-term plan for pets that are left behind, determine how to care for them.
  5. Inform relevant parties: Notify any organizations or institutions of which the deceased was a member. Among these are:
    • Employers
    • Schools
    • Clubs
    • Memberships
    • Religious Institutions
  6. Begin estate proceedings: Whether or not a Probate proceeding depends on the size of the estate and the existence of a will and living trust. An Executor, named in the will or appointed by the Probate Court, will shepherd the estate through this process. It may be necessary to hire an estate planning attorney to provide legal guidance.

    >>Are you an estate executor or handling estate matters? Check out

    If you are responsible for managing the deceased’s estate matters, work with an attorney or estate administrator to handle the distribution of assets, settle debts, and resolve any legal issues related to the estate. Update any legal documents as necessary, such as wills, trusts, power of attorney, or healthcare directives.

    Request certified documentation that you are authorized to make changes on behalf of the deceased. Most institutions, such as banks, will require this proof before you can take any action.
  7. File death benefit claims: It can take some time for death benefit claims to be processed, so starting this part of the process as early as possible is wise. A certified copy of the death certificate is usually required to make these claims. The types of claims to be filed are:
    • Social Security
    • Veterans Administration
    • Pension/Retirement Funds
    • Unions
      >> See Claiming Death Benefits for more information on death certificates and claiming benefits.
  8. Close accounts and cancel services: Close the deceased person’s accounts, such as bank accounts, credit cards, utility services, and subscriptions. Cancel or transfer any memberships, licenses, or contracts that are no longer applicable. Be sure to consult with the estate executor to make sure you have proper authorization to transfer titles or other ownership. Examples of accounts you should cancel include:
    • Medicare / Health Insurance
    • Department of Motor Vehicles
    • Telephone
    • Utilities
    • Newspaper
    • Cable
    • Streaming Services
  9. Settle financial matters: Address any outstanding financial matters, such as paying bills, resolving debts, and filing final tax returns. To properly handle financial obligations, consult with an accountant or financial advisor. It may be necessary to have the Probate Court release short-term funds to cover these bills. The types of accounts to settle include:
    • Bank Accounts
    • Credit Cards
    • Mortgages
    • Loans
  10. Deactivate, transfer ownership, or memorialize digital accounts: Ensuring digital assets are taken care of has never been more important. Having the login credentials will make the task much easier. When you do not have the passwords, there may be paperwork to complete. Each provider has different requirements. The types of accounts to manage include:
    • Search tools such as Google and Yahoo
  11. Take care of personal belongings: Determine how to handle the deceased’s personal belongings. This could involve distributing items to family members, donating to charities, or selling certain possessions.

Remember, the specific tasks and considerations will vary depending on your situation and local laws. It can be helpful to consult with professionals, such as attorneys, accountants, or grief counselors, to ensure that you address all necessary matters and receive appropriate guidance throughout the process.

If You Are Responsible for Handling the Estate

From time to time, we work closely with companies that specialize in areas that are related to the funeral industry but are complementary to what we offer. One such company is EstateExec. EstateExec offers software to help individuals perform the duties that come with being named as the executor of an estate.

Since the executor is responsible for winding down and distributing a deceased person’s estate after the funeral, it can be overwhelming. That’s where EstateExec comes in. The application provides automated guidance and automated financial accounting. In the words of the company, “You can think of EstateExec as something like Quicken® but optimized for the estate settlement process.”

There is a cost to license the software, but EstateExec offers a free trial period so that you can see if the software will work for your needs. Click here if you would like to learn more about EstateExec, or reach out to us at, and we will be happy to have an EstateExec representative contact you.

How Much Will Your Funeral Cost? Try Our QuickPlan to Find Out.