Survivor assistance

Beyond planning your loved one's funeral or final service, there are other important issues survivors need to address.

To help you keep track of key decisions over the next several months, we have developed the survivor checklist. We've organized this checklist in a way that will help you prioritize what needs to be done first and what things can wait until you're ready.

Seeking support

There are a variety of professional resources available to you – from full grief sensitivity programs to support hotlines and books.

  • Check with your current or former employer or the employer of your deceased loved one. They may be able to provide information on bereavement counseling through an employee assistance program or standalone program. Because these programs are supported by the employer they may be offered free of charge or at a discount.
  • Seek support from friends, family or community resources. Many people have experienced the death of a loved one and they may have good advice to share. Sometimes it is simply helpful to talk to another person who has experienced the same issues.

Updating personal information

When someone close to you has died, your own personal information may no longer be up-to-date. For example, was the person your life insurance beneficiary? Was he or she covered under your medical plan? Take time to review your personal information and records, including:

  • Medical insurance coverage
  • Life insurance coverage and beneficiary designations
  • 401K or other retirement beneficiary information
  • Bank account registration

In addition to updating your own information, remember to update your loved one's information. This includes contacting the Social Security Administration, Veterans Administration and other clubs or organizations.

You will also need to cancel cell phone plans, car insurance and other plans or services to which your loved one subscribed.

Preparing for your own passing

After experiencing the death of a loved one, you may wish to prepare for your own passing. Doing so can give you peace of mind and can also make the process easier for your survivors. We have put together information and documents that can assist you with this process.

Choosing cremation According to the Cremation Association of North America, more than a third of all people who die are cremated and industry experts project that by 2025 58.85% of Americans will choose cremation.

Additional resources

The National Association of Funeral Directors Funeral Service Hotline helps answer a variety of questions about the funeral planning process. Call 1-800-228-NFDA (6332).

How to Survive the Loss of Love is one book recognized as a wonderful resource for people looking for information and support after experiencing a loss. Look for other books at your place of worship, community library or online.


Survivor Checklist(pdf)