Tending to Business Details After a Loss

By: Jessie Flynn
Monday, November 9, 2015

Are you grieving the loss of a person you love? If so, one thing you definitely do not need is a bunch of business changes to accomplish. Virtually every widow and widower tell me how exhausted emotionally and physically they feel, as well as completely overwhelmed by the business tasks that face them, especially in those first weeks and months following their loss. Jessie Flynn, writer, Life-Coach and Grief Speci

by Jessie Flynn

Are you grieving the loss of a person you love? If so, one thing you definitely do not need is a bunch of business changes to accomplish. Virtually every widow and widower tell me how exhausted emotionally and physically they feel, as well as completely overwhelmed by the business tasks that face them, especially in those first weeks and months following their loss.

The unfortunate truth, however, is that governments, insurance companies, and other institutions do not wait for the healing journey through grief. In many cases, they need business affairs to be dealt with immediately if not sooner. Titles need to be changed, credit cards canceled, investments addressed, funeral and other bills paid. The list seems endless.

How daunting, when all you want to do is run away, sleep for a year (now there’s a luxury), join your loved one (not recommended; not yet, at least), or simply try to make sense of the chaotic change that’s become your daily life. Tough stuff!

“How can I deal with all this pressure? It’s enough to just get through the day,” you question.

Here’s the encouraging answer: “You WILL get through the piles of business chores that accompany loss. You WILL do this one step at a time. Help is on the way.”

Yes … HELP! Do trust me on that. This help comes in the form of a wonderful checklist. No doubt, more items could be added according to different circumstances, but having a list is a huge boost for most overwhelmed grieving people. You can even experience the thrill of crossing off those already-done items. So, sit down. Take a deep breath … and read carefully.

The List

Notify your place of worship or memorial society to help organize service.
Obtain 20 or more notarized copies of the Death Certificate from the funeral home. Most agencies that need to be informed of the death require a copy.
Contact Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 to check on survivor benefits .You can schedule a telephone appointment.
Notify Medicare at 1-800-633-4227  or you can contact them at MyMedicare.gov
Notify pension companies.
Notify investment companies and banking accounts.
Notify your attorney, or executor, and/or financial consultants regarding fixed, variable annuities, stocks, bonds, etc, legal notifications and filings. Change the name on accounts if necessary. These people are valuable resources for information and assistance.
Notify health insurance providers, e.g. AARP 65 Special policies, Blue Cross or Blue Shield, etc.
Notify accountant to help identify required valuations and tax filings.
Check on location of will, probate will, and determine with the executor and/or attorney which municipality to file in.
Remember to update your Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, Emergency Fact Sheets, Financial Power of Attorney and Wills if your loved on was named the contact or surrogate in any of these areas.
If applicable, notify Department of Defense at 1-800-321-1080 for benefits.
Make your medical provider aware of your loss and have a physical within the first months of your loss.
Check on insurance policies, life insurance and other policies that list the deceased beneficiary or that are to be paid out at this time.
Change your list of telephone names and numbers for family and friends to have up-to-date list.
Mail forwarding addresses and/or cancellations of subscriptions.
Check to see if there is a safe deposit box. (Keys tend to be hard to find).
Under certain conditions, have a formal real estate appraisal of your property.
Write thank-you notes to those who reached out during your loss.
PACE AND TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF WHILE ACCOMPLISHING THESE TASKS.

Whew! This may seem like an awfully lengthy list, filled with daunting “to-dos.” So it is important to remember that, according to the rules of etiquette, you have a whole year and even longer to get these things in order. Realize as well how tired you might be feeling, so be gentle with yourself and that long process of adapting to a different way of being. Also, ask for help from family and friends. most simply don’t know what to say or what to do when it comes to loss; yet, they’re eager to be there for you. And always know that Grace, those unseen forces of love that surround each one of us, will see you through the days ahead. Please keep that thought as your guide!

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