What to do after the death of your next of kin (Part 1)

Parting from a loved one is always difficult and there is no parting more difficult and grievous than the one that comes with death. However, even in such unfortunate circumstances, there are certain obligations that you need to fulfil.

What to do after the death of your next of kin (Part 1)

Dealing with the death of a loved one is always harder than you think it’s going to be. Apart from the feelings of pain, loss, and grief, it brings several worldly obligations that you cannot avoid. These obligations may vary from emotional to governmental, but you will have to maintain a brave face and make sure that they are completed.

To make the process simpler for you, we have prepared an easy guide listing how and when to take some essential next steps in case of the death of a next of kin.

  1. Immediately after- If the death takes place at home, then immediately close the eyes of the person and put a pillow under his or her head to raise it 3-4 inches above. Moisten their lips by putting water or petroleum based jelly. Inform the doctor who was treating the deceased. If the person dies in a hospital, then call the nurse immediately.
  2. Call family and friends- The first thing to do after the death of a next of kin is to inform all his or her loved ones- family, relatives, friends, and neighbours. A person’s death is a sad affair for everyone they were close to, so you must make sure these people are all informed of his or her passing.
  3. Organ donation- If your next of kin is registered as an organ donor, you must proudly let him or her fulfil his or her wish by donating it to someone who is in dire need of it. Family members of the deceased might also decide to donate his or her organs and you must support and assist them in this.
  4. Obituary- Place an obituary in the local edition of a newspaper. These days it is fairly easy to do this online where newspaper sites allow you to book the space, style, and even compose the ad. It shows you prices for different types of ads and even allows you to make the payment online. This is a great way to honour your loved one, and has been known to be very gratifying to the surviving kin.
  5. Inform their employer- If your loved one was employed, you will have to contact their employers and inform them about the death of their employee so that they can redistribute his or her work among other employees and look for someone else to take up the job. It may seem trivial in the moment, but your loved one wouldn’t want anyone to be inconvenienced in their wake, and you wouldn’t want your loved one to be remembered in any way but the best.
  6. Funeral- You need to make a lot of arrangements for the funeral depending on the rites and rituals that are followed in your specific religion or community. You need to contact the ministers, priests, etc., to complete the funeral rites. You can do this by going to the closest place of worship of your religion in your area and talking to someone there who’s in charge. If you have a man or woman of religion your family is close to, most certainly ask them before asking someone you don’t know.
  7. Death certificate- After you have completed all the funeral rites, you must register the death with the concerned local municipal authorities within 21 days of its occurrence, by filling up the form prescribed by the Registrar. A death can be reported and registered by the head of the family, in case it occurs in a house or by the medical in-charge if it occurs in a hospital. This death certificate is an incredibly important document you will need for a number of things down the line, be it claiming insurance, or dealing with banks and government agencies., as it proves the time, date, cause and fact of death.
  8. Handle your grief- Death is very taxing on surviving parties, both physically and emotionally. The chaos of various formalities and last rites may not leave you with any time to take stock of your grief. You will have people to console you but it is only you who can handle your grief well because only you can understand your personalised mechanism to deal with emotional catastrophes. Do not be afraid to lean on your friends and family, and make an effort to follow whatever path to recovery feels right to you, as long as it does not involve harming yourself in any way.

Going pillar to post to handle various obligations and close off various loose ends will seem like a hassle and maybe even insensitive in the aftermath of a loved one’s death, but you must try and look at the bigger picture, which is helping your loved one get a smooth departure from this world.

Though money may be the last thing on your mind following the death of a loved one, there are some financial obligations you must fulfill.

To make the process easier for you, here is: What to do after the death of your next of kin-2


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