Many people don’t realize the large number of decisions that need to be made following the death of a loved one. There are as many as 150 important details that need attention. We have listed the top 87 here.

A relative, friend, or even a stranger is left with the responsibility of making these decisions, often within 72 hours or less, unless if some of the decisions had been made ahead of time.

Our consultants can help you make these decisions ahead of time and can offer guidance to your loved ones – so they can focus on what matters most.

Vital Information, Documents:

1 Take the first step to pre-planning by consulting your Arbor representative for information 

2 Name, address and telephone numbers

3 How long at present address 

4 Date of birth 

5 Place of birth 6 Legal proof of age or birth certificate 

7 Citizenship, citizenship papers 

8 Social Insurance Number 

9 Business name or employer’s address/contact 

10 Occupation and title 

11 Father’s name 

12 Father’s birthplace 

13 Mother’s maiden name 

14 Mother’s birthplace 

15 Religious name (if applicable) 

16 Military Service Serial Number (if applicable) 

17 Military Discharge Certificate (if applicable) 

18 Legal Will and Power of Attorney 

19 Pensions 

20 Insurance policies (life, health, car, property) 

21 Investments 

22 Bank books, account numbers 

23 Deeds to properties (house, cottage) 

24 Bill of sale of automobile, boat, other 

25 Income tax returns, receipts, cancelled checks 

26 Disability claims 

27 Cemetery Certificate of Ownership 

28 Marriage License 

29 Addresses of children, relatives, close friends etc. 

30 Passwords: computer, accounts, social media

Personal Choices, Final Wishes:

31 Meet with funeral director, cemetery representative, and/or clergy about details of wishes 

32 Discuss options with loved ones 

33 Choose cremation or burial 

34 Select style of urn or casket 

35 Which funeral practitioner or crematorium to call 

36 Place where service is to be held, ie: funeral home, religious institution, other 

37 Length and location of the visitation 

38 Reception location (funeral home, church, other) 

39 Service type (religious, military, casual, themed, etc.) 

40 Celebrant (funeral director, clergy, other) 

41 Select pallbearers and other participants 

42 Choose flowers and/or a commemorative display 

43 Choose music (spiritual, popular, live or recorded) 

44 Select readings (religious and/or secular) 

45 Charitable organizations for in-memorial donations 

46 Select catering style (classic, gourmet, themed, custom) 

47 Select the cemetery/mausoleum 

48 Cemetery lot or niche or crypt location 

49 Vault or sectional crypt 

50 Style of memorial (marker, stone, niche, bench, etc.) 

51 Decorative elements and inscriptions 

52 Interment service details, celebrant etc. 

53 Note the details/people to be included in obituary 

54 Make notes on what to include in eulogy 

55 Transportation for deceased 

56 Transportation for family (coach, procession, limo) 

57 Determine budget and how expenses will be paid: (Full amount due at the time of crisis, or, in affordable installments available by pre-planning)

Who to Notify When a Death Occurs:

58 Funeral home and cemetery 

59 Doctors/medical practitioners 

60 Relatives, friends, colleagues, neighbors 

61 Employers of deceased

62 Insurance agents (life, health & accident) 

63 Organizations (religious, fraternal, civic, veterans, unions) 

64 Lawyer, accountant and executor 65 Bankers, investors, creditors, government

Responsibilities at Time of Death

66 Set time/date of services, visitation, internment 

67 Inform and instruct pallbearers 

68 Clothing for the deceased 

69 Create online memorial (ie: Sharing MemoriesTM)

70 Social media announcements 

71 Write eulogy or provide notes to assist the writer 

72 Prepare home for receiving visitors 

73 Check and sign legal papers, burial permits etc. 

74 Place obituary or provide vital statistics about deceased to newspaper 

75 Respond to phone calls, messages, cards 

76 Arrange lodging for out-of-town guests 

77 Make list of callers and floral tributes for mailing thank you cards 

78 Arrange for any special religious requirements 

79 Check Will regarding specific wishes 

80 Order the Death Certificate 

81 Arrangements for care of dependents and pets 

82 Arrange clergy participation, pay clergy fees 

83 Pay utilities and other current or urgent bills (mortgage or rent, taxes, installment payments) 

84 Pay any outstanding medical or legal fees 

85 Pay florist and caterers, unless paid in advance 

86 Pay funeral fees, unless paid in advance 

87 Pay cemetery fees, unless paid in advance

It makes sense to plan many of these decisions now. It spares your loved ones from unnecessary stress and guarantees your personal wishes are met.

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