The death of a loved one can strike at any time. Sometimes, we have time to prepare for the death when a loved one is diagnosed with a terminal illness or simply lives to an advanced age. Other times, a loved one can be taken from us without any warning. If you have a friend who has recently lost a loved one, and you would like to help, but don’t know what to do, consider the following:
Assist in locating important documents such as the decedent’s Last Will and Testament. Often, estate planning documents will include a funeral plan that could make planning the service and burial much simpler.
Contact the funeral home for your friend. If a funeral plan was found, you will only need to notify them of the death. If not, make an appointment for your friend and get some general information.
Find out how to obtain extra certified copies of the death certificate if they are needed.
Offer to assist with writing the obituary.
Help with notifying insurance companies, Social Security Administration or pension administrators of the death. Often, they will wish to speak directly to your friend, but you can help by locating telephone numbers, policy numbers and other paperwork.
Organize food for your friend and any remaining family members. Cooking is often the last thing someone wants to think about when they have just lost a loved one; however, eating is necessary. There are online organizations that will even deliver meals purchased by people online.
Offer to take care of any minor children that the decedent may have left behind.
The loss of a loved one can be a very emotionally difficult time. Small things that are done for surviving family members not only make the planning easier but also express love and support when it is most needed.