Even those deaths that are anticipated still come as a shock to those left behind. Grief, which comes with so many conflicting emotions, is difficult to wade through. With those emotions clouding your judgment, figuring out your next step after a death can be difficult. As such, it’s good to make sure you’re aware of the following five steps to take after the death of a loved one.

Contact Friends and Family

The most important thing to do after a loved one passes is to let the people in their life know what’s happened. If you’re talking to someone close, make sure to talk to them as directly as possible, either in person or on the phone. You can make more general announcements on social media or through an obituary column, but get in contact with close friends and family directly.

Make Funeral Arrangements

Your next step is funeral arrangements. Visit a funeral home you trust and discuss the options. While this can be daunting, employees there are familiar with guiding grieving loved ones through the process of planning a funeral. However, remember that you have a great deal of control over this process. Don’t let yourself get talked into anything your loved one would not want.

Alternatively, your loved one may have left instructions about what they want for their funeral or memorial service. If they have left instructions, try to stick to these as closely as possible out of respect. It may help to bring the instructions with you to the funeral home when you’re planning the service.

Consider the Circumstances

Make sure you look at how your loved one died. If it was due to the fault of another, you may want to contact a wrongful death attorney. While it won’t bring them back, it can help ease the stress you’re under, both financially and emotionally. It can also protect people in the future. 

If the death of a family member was due to a health issue, it might be a wise idea to stop and reconsider your own health. Following medical advice, do what you can to prevent a similar issue.

Deal with the Finances

You’ll also need to deal with the finances. If you are the executor of the estate, this means dealing with the final bills and dispensing of property and money as outlined in the deceased’s will. This can be an incredibly stressful process, but it’s one that you will have to handle. While parts of the process have deadlines that need to be adhered to, don’t try to rush through. Take time to make sure everything is done right and according to your loved one’s wishes.

Talk to Someone

Finally, it’s important that you have help as you grieve. While there are certainly a number of things that must be done, you still have to take care of yourself. Whether you talk to a close friend or to a therapist, you need to make sure you have someone to help you process what’s happened.

There’s nothing simple about the death of a loved one, but having a plan to follow can provide you with support. Make sure to take care of the basic arrangements before you worry about anything else, but do make sure that you have the ability to address the logistical issues that follow death. This will be a tough process, but it’s one that can be handled with care.