Sudden Death Checklist Duties requiring early attention Select a family spokesperson who will communicate to family friends, newspaper, etc. Contact funeral home and cemetery or crematorium. Contact relatives and close friends. Contact employer and business associates. Contact financial advisor, attorney, and CPA. Contact local newspaper with obituary information. Obtain as many “original” or “certified” death certificates as necessary and then make additional copies. If necessary, arrange for immediate care of decedent’s spouse and children. Protect any perishable assets and related documents. Duties for the first week Locate and review copy of will and trust documents. Locate and review copy of most recent income tax return. Locate any important financial papers and search for assets, brokerage accounts, checking accounts, etc. Contact Veterans Administration for any appropriate veterans benefits. Contact Department of Motor Vehicles to cancel driver’s license, etc. If necessary, notify post office to forward mail. Notify Social Security and apply for any survivor benefits or lump sum death benefits. Contact medical and health insurance companies. Locate life insurance policies and contact companies. Contact all banks, savings and loans, credit unions, brokerage custodians, etc. Contact Medicare and Medicaid, if appropriate. Duties for the first month and thereafter. This section is a cooperative effort of the kinds of things that are done by the personal representative, the attorney, tax advisor, etc. File the will and other necessary papers with probate court. Obtain from the court notice of appointment as personal representative. Publish notice of appointment and provide certified copy of death certificate to banks, financial institutions, custodians and insurance companies. Transfer ownership of property to beneficiaries. Inventory all assets including those in safety deposit box. Notify creditors. Request permission from the court to deliver personal effects and bequests to the beneficiaries. Collect tax information for the current year. Settle the estate. File all required tax returns.