We often encounter grieving families at a loss of what needs to be done immediately after a loved one has passed away. It’s not uncommon for family members to contact our office on the day a loved one passes or in the coming days. Whilst commencing the administration of the deceased’s estate is important it does not need to be the first item on your to do list.
If your loved one has passed away in a care facility such as a hospital or a nursing home the first thing that you will need to do is notify family and friends. If the death of your loved one was expected, and it occurred in your home, then there is no need to notify the authorities or call an Ambulance. You will need to notify your doctor who will attend at your home. This is so the doctor can complete a Cause of Death Certificate.
You will also need to make contact with a Funeral Director. Choosing a funeral director is very personal and many people have preferences of which funeral director to use. Once you have made contact with the funeral director they will walk you through the funeral arrangements.
The funeral director will have you sign documents, which will include notifications to government agencies such as Medicare and Centrelink. You do not need to make direct contact with these agencies however, you can if you choose. In some circumstances there may be a bereavement payment available from Centrelink.
You do not need to rush to see a Solicitor. No distributions can generally be made within thirty (30) days of the date of death. You should however, take a number of steps if you are the Executor of the estate. These are:
1. Notify financial institutions. This will place a freeze on accounts so no funds can be withdrawn until the bank’s requirements are met. This is a safeguard for estate beneficiaries.
2. Make sure assets are identified, secured and insured including houses, cars and boats.
Other than taking these immediate steps the most important thing you can do is take the time to grieve. An estate, in most cases will not be finalised within six (6) months.
We at LawFirst understand that information is a powerful and comforting tool. We are available to discuss the estate administration process with you at any stage whether that is within days of losing your loved one or at a later stage.