What to Do When a Loved One Dies: Handling Final Affairs & Arrangements

The passing of a loved one is always difficult, regardless of the circumstances. Your greatest strength at this time is the love and support of others– God, family, friends and your local and religious communities. Lean on them for guidance and comfort during your time of sorrow; let them lift you up when you feel low and carry you when the burden feels heavier than you can bear alone.

In North Carolina, when a loved one dies there are some things that must be done right away, and others that are best handled later, after you have had time to grieve. The sadness and profound sense of loss you feel are normal and expected, but they still can feel all-consuming at times and make it hard to think clearly.

What Kinds of Things Do You Need to Take Care of After a Loved One’s Passing?

  • Notifications

    There are many people to notify of your loved one’s passing. Start with immediate family and anyone else who needs to know right away, like their employer or others who were counting on your loved one to be there.

  • Funeral/Burial Arrangements

    You will need to contact your church, synagogue or place of worship to make plans for your loved one’s remembrance, and choose a funeral home to carry out their final wishes if they didn’t already make this choice before their passing.

  • Submitting an Obituary

    Publishing an obituary is the easiest way to notify friends, colleagues, acquaintances and others about your loved one’s passing and the location, date and time of religious services and the funeral, so they can attend if they wish.

  • Disposition of Their Estate

    You will need to handle the disposition of their estate and personal property if you’re the executor (or work with their executor if you’re not), to ensure your loved one’s affairs are handled according to their wishes and as required by law.

  • Legal/Business Notifications

    You will need to notify the appropriate government and business entities of your loved one’s passing (including banks and other firms your loved one had accounts with) so their accounts can be closed and benefits distributed.

After a loved one’s passing, with so many things to do during such a difficult time, it’s common to feel overwhelmed. Just breathe and take things one step at a time; with the support and guidance of your family, friends and the professionals you choose to handle things for you, everything will be taken care of in due time.

Request Our Free Guide: When a Loved One Dies

When a Loved One Dies guide cover

To help you better navigate the many things you need to take care of after a loved one’s passing, we offer a free guide, When a Loved One Dies, to help you compile and organize the information you need to handle their final arrangements.

The guide includes a number of tips, checklists and forms to help you remember things commonly forgotten, and to simplify the process:

  • What to do right away, soon and after the service
  • Documents you may need
  • Estate probate and settlement
  • Fillable forms you can use to pull together key contact, biographical and preference information for easy reference or so someone can help you with notifications or final arrangements

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If you need someone to walk with you through the process of handling things after losing a loved one, and to give you sound advice on what you need to do now and what things can and should wait until you have had time to grieve, please contact us to schedule a confidential consultation.

We will be there to support and assist you with anything you need during this difficult time.

Tools and Resources

The Basics of North Carolina Inheritance Laws

North Carolina Probate: An Overview

4 Money Mistakes People Often Make After a Spouse Dies

How Social Security Can Help You When a Family Member Dies

IRS Guidance: Probate, Filing Tax Returns and Paying Taxes for the Deceased

Checklist: Things You’ll Need to Do When a Loved One Dies

North Carolina Consumer Guide to Funerals and Pre-Planning/Pre-Financing Funeral Arrangements

10 Websites Where Grieving Widows and Widowers Can Find Help and Support

Managing Your Finances After the Death of a Spouse

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