This week I have a guest post by Lucille Rosetti from thebereaved.org looking at the hard topic of death. As Christians we shouldn't fear death, and ought to look on it with a paradoxical hope, since we know that through Christ death has lost its "sting" (1 Cor 15:55-57) and that we look forward to the Resurrection and life to come. But even with that in mind, the physical and earthly loss is still hard and something we need to process and deal with, and the following guest post aims to help with the practical side of loss which still needs to be dealt with. Leave your thoughts in the comments!
Losing a loved one is difficult. It always comes as a shock and requires you to set aside some time to properly grieve your loss. In addition to dealing with your emotional responses to the loss, there are many important decisions to make after the fact. The advice below may be a good starting point for those who need to figure out their next steps.
There are important logistical matters to take care of after someone passes away. Finding their important documents such as a Social Security card, will, or military discharge papers takes precedent. These can let you know if there were special instructions, tax obligations, benefits, and if the deceased wanted to be an organ donor. Make sure pets are taken care of, and locate a legal guardian if there are children who survive the deceased. If your loved one made an arrangement with a funeral home in the past, they may be able to assist with legal matters, especially if your loved one died at home; contact a funeral home if nothing has been arranged. Finally, notify credit reporting agencies so they can look out for possible fraud on the Social Security number and credit cards of the deceased.
After a loss, it’s normal to become emotionally attached to items that belonged to the person who passed away. In fact, some people may feel they will lose more memories and parts of the deceased as they sort through items. It’s possible to make healthy decisions about this while still honoring the memory of the person you dearly loved. First, read the will of the deceased, if one exists. If there isn’t one, an estate lawyer and accountant may be able to help you deal with valuable possessions, an estate, and other legal matters.
Professionals, such as experts in bereavement cleanouts can provide support and advice as well. You can also take care of these things yourself. It’s wise to give yourself ample time to sort through things. Create a plan for which rooms you will clean on which days, and sort items based on these four criteria: toss, donate, keep, or sell. Reconsider switching items from a given pile as needed. Put paperwork and documents in a separate pile so you won’t miss any possible instructions or important notices. Clean every spot thoroughly. Over the years, your loved ones may have lost valuable pieces of jewelry that can be split up amongst the family.
According to Cancer.net, experts suggest waiting at least a year to make major life changes, such as changing jobs or moving. Of course, you know your situation best, and there may be specific reasons why you’d like to move sooner. Preparing paperwork is crucial to selling your home with the least amount of stress possible.
Gather documents and organize them in folders so you can easily look through them. Items to include in your folders are tax records and information, maintenance and home repair records, documents on appraisal of your home when you bought it and of appraisals performed afterward, mortgage details, home insurance records, property survey, certificates stating you comply with local zoning regulations or codes, and the sales contract created when you originally bought your house. Don’t forget to submit your original deed, which acts as proof that you own your home. It’s possible to obtain a certified copy for your local recorder’s office or county clerk. Of course, selling your home probably means you’re considering buying a new one. Getting a buyer’s agent may be your best bet as you deal with selling your house. Your buyer’s agent will represent you during transactions and help you find your new home.
Sadly, there are no easy or quick ways to deal with the loss of a loved one, but hopefully, these tips will help you address urgent tasks you’ll need to complete and minimize the worries associated with the passing of someone you hold dear.
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