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When a Loved One Dies

by Michele Malloy

We don’t want to even think about losing one of our loved ones, but we all will lose people we cherish. So what do you need to think about in this time of grief?

  1. If your loved one is dying, do consider using hospice services. They can make the transition so much easier for the person dying and for the family.
  2. Check his or her medical documents and driver’s license to see if he or she wanted to be an organ donor. I volunteer in an ICU area where the patients are all waiting for an organ – a heart or a kidney or a lung – for months. Sometimes they die, waiting. Your loved one could save another person’s life.
  3. Early on, be sure to check your loved one’s papers for an Appointment of Agent for Disposition of Remains (sometimes this document also includes what they may have wanted for funeral and burial), a prepaid funeral agreement, anything about a cemetery plot.
  4. Do NOT put a home address in the obituary and have someone stay at the family’s houses during the wake and the funeral. Thieves know to go during the time announced for the funeral.
  5. When you can handle it, look for the Will, insurance policies, and any financial papers.
  6. Find an attorney who specializes in probate work and make an appointment. Take the Will and financial papers with you, along with any questions you might have. Probate is not a difficult or lengthy process in Texas, but having someone experienced to help you through this difficult time is important.
  7. Take extra good care of yourself during this time. You are grieving and distracted by your personal loss. It is easier to be in a car wreck, or to make other mistakes than normally. And easier to get sick. So be gentle with yourself.


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