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When a loved one dies, the whole family is left in a state of devastation. Whether the death is unexpected or one that is already predicted due to severe medical conditions, the family is never prepared to accept the loss at once. Despite the devastation, however, it is the family’s responsibility to look after all the legal formalities. It is the family that arranges a proper funeral and takes care of all the paperwork associated with death.


Since death is something none of us is particularly prepared for, many people are unaware of the formalities they must go through immediately after a close one dies. In order to prevent the family from suffering more than they already are, death and funeral formalities are almost the same throughout the US. As a cremation equipment manufacturing company, American Incinerators works with death care providers every day. Here is a basic step by step guide to help you make the process less stressful:

Obtain a Medical Certificate

If the death has occurred in a hospital or in the presence of a doctor, he/she will confirm the death and issue a certificate that explains the cause of the death. In case the person dies at home, the first person to contact must be a doctor (911) who can see the body to confirm the tragic happening through an official certificate.

Registration of Death

All deaths must be registered in the area where the person died. You must apply for registration within 5 days of the death. The registration authority will issue several papers that include permission for burial or cremation, a certificate of death. Obtaining certificate and registration of the death will take a few days.

Finances for Funeral

It is advisable to contact a funeral director that also offers to handle the majority of paperwork for you. The cost of funeral can possibly be paid from the estate left by the deceased. If the family is unable to pay the cost associated with funeral, they can apply for support from the social fund.

Estate of the deceased

After the funeral, the most important paperwork is related to the estate left by the person. Things are much easier in case a will is left behind by the deceased. In that case, you must hire an executor. All the assets must be distributed as per the decedent’s wish. In case there is no will, the assets are distributed according to the state law but after the debts, expenses and taxes are paid.

Official Notification

After the funeral, it is important to notify all the organizations associated with the decedent in the least possible time. Banks, landlords, IRA, employers, mortgage companies and insurance companies are the main institutions to be notified as soon as possible. This will require you to present proper paperwork including death certificates, bank account information, ID, etc.

A lot of paperwork and formalities after this will vary in every case depending on the decedent’s association with various institutions. That is why it is very helpful to seek assistance from death and funeral service experts who are well aware of the complete procedure.

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