Steps to take after a loved one dies

Experiencing the loss of a loved one is never easy. In addition to the grief the family goes through, a long list of paperwork and formalities must be completed. To make it easier for you, here is a chronological list of steps to take after a death.

1. Steps to take in the 24 hours following the death of a loved one

In the 24 hours following the death of a loved one, these steps are important.

Contact a doctor for the declaration of death

Getting the death declared in the minutes following the death is essential since you need a death certificate to start the administrative process.

Check if the deceased had funeral insurance

You need to verify if the deceased had funeral insurance before organizing the funeral. The process and financing details may have already been arranged depending on the funeral contract chosen by the deceased. If this is not the case, you will need to choose a funeral home.

Fulfill the deceased’s last wishes

You must then begin carrying out the deceased’s last wishes. This could include cremation or burial and making funeral arrangements (choosing the date of the service, arranging reception, etc.). 

2. Steps to take in the week following the death

There are several steps to complete in the week following the death of a loved one.

Notify banks and insurance companies

You first need to inform the bank(s) where your loved one had accounts. In Belgium, when someone dies, their bank accounts are frozen until an authorized person unfreezes them.

Notify the deceased's employer or pension services

You must then notify your loved one's employer (or employees if he or she was an employer) of the death. Contact the retirement pension service and find out if there is a survivor's pension that could go to the deceased's spouse.

3. What to do in the weeks and months following the death

Death is followed by several administrative procedures that can take several weeks or even months in certain cases.

Contact a notary to determine the existence of a will

One of the most important steps is contacting a notary to determine if a will had been prepared. They will also assist heirs in the asset distribution and inheritance tax processes.

Termination of real estate and service contracts

Finally, the deceased's service contracts must be terminated. This includes contracts for water, gas, electricity, telephone, internet and any other subscriptions (streaming sites, gym, newspapers, etc.).

If the deceased was a landlord or tenant, the rental contracts will also have to be terminated. You can find more information on the topic in the British Chamber of Commerce’s "death and taxation" document.

The last step: take time for yourself

We hope this list of steps to take following the death of a loved one will help you get through this difficult time. Once you have completed this checklist, you will need time to grieve and take care of your loved ones and yourself.

At Morning Blue, our goal is to make the life of those who are grieving easier. If you need professional assistance in the administrative formalities following a death, contact us.