Survivor’s Checklist

The death of a loved one presents great hardship, difficulty and confusion for surviving friends and family. Southern Cremations & Funerals at Cheatham Hill understands the grief and difficulty the death of a loved one causes, and ensures that your family and loved one’s receive the highest level of respect while in our care. The Survivor’s Checklist will help you and your family handle the decisions that must be made following the death of a loved one.

You may also download and print a copy of the Survivor’s Checklist here.

Immediately Following the Death of a Loved One

Immediately following the death of a loved one, we advise close family members or friends:

  1. Contact Southern Cremations & Funerals at Cheatham Hill to receive your loved one.
  2. Contact your loved one’s spiritual advisor.
  3. Inform family members and close friends of your loved one’s passing.
  4. Inform your loved one’s employer, if he or she was employed.
  5. Notify the designated agent under Power of Attorney, if necessary.
  6. Inform your loved one’s executor of the Will.
  7. Notify any organizations or affiliations in which your loved one was a member, including any fraternal, civic, or religious organizations.
  8. Inform your loved one’s attorney in regards to the transfer of the estate.
  9. Arrange any dependents’ care that may be necessary.
  10. Arrange for the immediate care of any pets your loved one may have had.
  11. Dispose of any perishables within your loved one’s home, like refrigerated items, food items, or existing refuse.
  12. Secure your loved one’s home by removing any valuable items and arrange for the home to appear occupied, such as setting lamp or light timers.
  13. Inform the post office of your loved one’s death and arrange mail forwarding.
  14. Locate your loved one’s important documents such as his or her will, social security card, birth certificate, marriage license, life insurance policies, and any memorial service pre-arrangements.
  15. Organize your loved one’s information. This will allow Southern Cremations & Funerals at Cheatham Hill to complete the death certificate. Necessary items include:
  • First, middle and last name
  • If applicable, maiden name
  • Marital Status
  • Spouse’s first and last name
  • Date of Birth
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Race/ethnicity
  • Social Security Number
  • Home address
  • Highest Level of Education
  • Occupation
  • Birthplace
  • Your loved one’s father’s name and birthplace
  • Your loved one’s mother’s name and birthplace
  • Veteran status

Within One Month Following the Death of a Loved One

  1. Speak to a trusted attorney concerning the validation of the Will.
  2. Discuss any taxes on your loved one’s estate with a trusted accountant.
  3. File any life insurance claims your loved one may have had.
  4. Inform any government offices, such as the Social Security Administration, who may have been making payments to your loved one. If your loved one was your spouse, you may also inquire about your eligibility for any new benefits.
  5. Inform the Registrar of Voters of your loved one’s death.
  6. Cancel any unnecessary home services if your loved one’s home isn’t occupied.
  7. Cancel any refills on your loved one’s prescriptions.
  8. Inform the Department of Motor Vehicles of your loved one’s death, cancel his or her driver’s license, and transfer any registered vehicle titles.
  9. Contact the VA if your loved one was a veteran to learn more about any benefits you may be entitled to.
  10. Inquire about any employer benefits – such as pension, 401(k), or company benefits – your loved one may have been entitled to.
  11. If your loved one’s death was accidental, inquire about any benefits that may be available on existing insurance policies.
  12. Inform the credit reporting agencies – Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian – of your loved one’s death and request a current copy of his or her credit report.
  13. Inquire about any life insurance benefits that may be available through existing loan or credit card accounts.
  14. File outstanding health insurance or Medicare benefits claims.
  15. Gather necessary documentation to settle your loved one’s estate, such as real estate deeds and titles, copies of the death certificate (at least 12), paperwork for any outstanding loans, tax returns for the past 4 years, and bank statements
  16. Inform, in writing, any creditors of your loved one’s death.
  17. Transfer ownership of any credit lines or assets.
  18. Update your personal Will.
  19. If applicable, update any beneficiaries on your personal life insurance policies.
  20. Mail appreciation cards for donations, food, flowers, or significant gestures of caring and kindness, as well as thanking the pallbearers at your loved one’s funeral (if applicable).
  21. Distribute your loved one’s belongings.
  22. Remove your loved one’s name from any mailing lists or marketing mail programs.

Important Contacts Following the Death of a Loved One

While closing a loved one’s accounts, these telephone numbers and websites may aid you and your family in contacting and informing certain agencies of a loved one’s death:

Social Security Administration

Credit Reporting Agencies

1-800-685-1111 ·

1-800-888-4213 ·

1-888-397-3742 ·

Department of Veteran’s Affairs