Losing a loved one can be incredibly traumatic. Regardless of if they are your spouse, parent, child or a close friend, this is never an easy time in your life, yet everyone must go through with it throughout the course of their own life. During this time, you would probably rather just crawl into a hole and disappear from the world, but sadly, this is not something you can do. There are far too many responsibilities you need to take over. One such element are the finances. In fact, this is one of the more pressing situations that you have to deal with. From paying for the funeral to figuring out the current financial situation regarding the individual’s estate, there is no shortage of tasks you need to stop and figure out. It can be a bit of a whirlwind, but honestly, just going through the paperwork can be a nice distraction for the time being, so at least use the time you spend getting the financial paperwork together as a way to reflect on the life of your loved one.

Multiple Copies of the Death Certificate

The very first thing you have to do is obtain multiple copies of the death certificate. You are going to be rather surprised as to exactly how many copies you need, as just about everyone requires such a copy. You really need to obtain at least 20 copies. This might sound like a lot, but you’ll understand as you go along that every single financial account, personal account, service provider and other entity is going to require a copy of the death certificate

Letter of Testamentary

There are going to be many different accounts that you need to close out. However, many of these businesses are going to require some sort of proof that you really have the right to close the accounts. While they also require (most likely) a copy of the death certificate, they need to know that you are in charge of the accounts now and haver permission to close these accounts. Once you have a will, you can obtain the letters of testamentary from the city hall or local courthouse where you loved one lived.

Talk to a Lawyer

You might decide to not hire one, but you still need to talk to one. While the lawyer is going to cost money up front, it is usually a good investment, as they know the tax loopholes and other financial situations you need to look into. The several hundred to a few thousands dollars you might spend here can end up saving you tens of thousands of dollars later on.

Notify Financial and Government Agencies

From the Social Security Administration to credit card companies, you need to let these different locations know about the death. Chances are they also require a copy of the death certificate, but you need to let all of these individuals and entities know about the death. You even need to notify the post office.