Three Important Things to Do Before a Funeral

The things you’ll need to take care of before the funeral depend on the nature of your loss and the situation you’re in. In general, there are three main areas that you may need to attend to.

Financial issues

As soon as a bank is notified of the death, any bank accounts in the name of the person who died will likely be frozen until they are processed in probate and can be properly re-titled and distributed. In order to make sure you have enough money for living and other expenses in the meantime, you may want to withdraw cash from the bank immediately.

If you hold joint accounts with the person who died, it is unlikely that the bank will freeze those accounts. Most joint accounts specify right of survivorship, meaning that if one of the joint owners dies the other will have full ownership of the account. However, these practices vary from state to state, and it’s possible that the state you bank in will freeze half the assets in any joint accounts until after probate.

Household issues

Depending on where the person who died was living at the time of death, you may need to take steps to remove personal property from the place. If the person who died was living in a nursing home, assisted living facility, or hospice facility, there may be rules about how much time you have to remove personal property. In order to avoid substantial charges, you may need to clean out personal property immediately.

To learn more about household issues you may have to deal with, see our article Common Household Issues After a Death.

Preparing for the funeral

It’s a good idea to spend some time preparing yourself for the funeral mentally, emotionally, and physically. If you will be giving a eulogy, practice your speech. If there will be a lot of people in attendance, be prepared to say hello everyone and respond to everyone’s condolences. Make sure you have appropriate clothing to wear.

For more advice on how to prepare yourself for a funeral, see our article How to Prepare Yourself for a Funeral.

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