The loss of a loved one is a challenge none of us want to encounter. Unfortunately, most of us will. While nothing we can say or do will help soothe the immediate emotional pain and loss, there are steps we can take to ensure those left behind are carefully looked after.
For the sake of an example, let's address the loss of a spouse. From a financial point of view,
'What do I do now?'
First and foremost, resist the urge to make any major financial decisions in the immediate aftermath of the loss. The sad fact is, if an insurance agent or other financial "professional" is pressuring you to make big decisions while emotions are still raw, they highly likely don't have your best interests at heart.
Aside from dealing with the details surrounding the funeral, the most important financial steps would be to contact your estate attorney and trusted financial advisor. While making the final arrangements also be sure to order a dozen or so copies of the death certificate. The funeral director should be able to assist with this.
When you are ready, there are several items that may need to be addressed, such as:
Informing Social Security
Updating account registrations, asset titles
Applying for life insurance benefits
Updating your estate plan
We understand that while this topic may be unpleasant, it's nonetheless important.