If you have lost a loved one before you will know how difficult it is to stay centred in the immediate days after their death. We thought it would be helpful to put together a simple, five-step rescue plan to help families going through the initial stages of grief while trying to navigate through this difficult time and tie up their family member’s estate.
1. Contact family and close friends and do not be afraid to accept help
Coming together with loved ones immediately after the death of someone close to us is very important. At the time you will more than likely not want to see anyone but having the support of those that truly love and care for you during this time helps you breathe and in time process this difficult loss. You will also be surprised at the number of people in your immediate circle who will be willing to go the extra mile for you, these are special people, and they are all part of your healing journey. Accepting and welcoming their acts of kindness will help you – so if someone offers to bring you a cooked meal, for example, our advice is to accept these offers as it will do you good.
2. Make sure you receive the death notice
This document is the first step to getting the death certificate, which a copy of is needed by the Master of the High Court to successfully issue the Letter of Authority or Executorship depending on the size of the Estate. The death notice is a document that confirms the death of an individual and is usually signed off by a medical professional. This document will allow you to begin planning the funeral and later, the administration of the estate.
3. Notify the executor, ask for guidance and request information on burial or cremation wishes
Notifying the executor of your loved one’s estate in this time of need will be a great help to you. A good executor will immediately give guidance and support in terms of what needs to immediately be attended to with regards to the property, cars, insurance policies and the first steps in the administration process as they are actively practising in this field. Therefore, it is important to first have a valid will and secondly to make sure that you have a qualified practising executor as the relief their service can give the family in this time of need is immeasurable. The executor can also give direction on the last wishes in terms of funeral arrangements so that your loved one can be honoured and sent off in a way they wanted – there is healing for the family in and through this. It is also important if there are pets involved to make sure they are cared for and fed especially if it was a single person who is deceased.
4. Make sure the death certificate, ID document and original will of the deceased are kept safe
These documents are very important and to avoid them being lost which will result in unwanted delays it would be advisable that they be handed over to the nominated executor as soon as possible. It is important to get feedback from the executor that the original will, relevant certified copies and application papers have been successfully reported and lodged at the correct Master’s office.
5. Do not make any major decisions
At Marsh Fidelity, we advise our clients on what the process is and take away any administrative burden from them as the professional executor or registered agents. We do this as we believed that the time after death needs to be a time of mourning, healing, and reflection. It is advisable to take your time to grieve your loved ones, major life decisions can be made and addressed a couple of months after a loss.
Having a professional executor and a solid estate plan can save your family a lot of heartache after your passing. A life file where all your important documents in relation to your estate are kept can also be a major help to those you leave behind and love. We do not know when our time will be up but ending it with a good plan in place can make a world of difference to our family and friends left behind.
We hope that these steps have assisted you in some way. Feel free to reach out to us for help with the administration of deceased estates, guidance or just peace of mind.