There have been thousands of searches on Google over the past 12 months relating to people asking what needs to be done when a loved one passes. People react with shock when someone close to them dies, and if you are responsible for making the funeral and administration arrangements, you may also be thrown into a bit of a panic.
Handling a death and managing funeral arrangements is a challenging situation, especially in the midst of your grief. AED Attorneys has put together some pointers to help you handle the process from the minute of passing until after the funeral.
At the Time of Death
Identification of the Body
Identifying the body must be done by either an immediate family member or a close friend. In some mortuaries, the body can be identified via pictures on a computer rather than an in-person viewing of the body which prevents further emotional trauma. It is always a good idea to bring somebody along with you to the identification for emotional support. Once the identification has been made, a body number will be issued. This number needs to be provided to the funeral home, as well as the funeral policy number and details – if one exists.
Once the body number has been given to the funeral home, they will proceed with the funeral arrangements and will also advise you on what to do. You will now be able to disclose the news to friends, family, and colleagues, as soon as you feel able to.
Unfortunately, under COVID lockdown conditions only 50 people are allowed to attend a funeral, so you may need to discuss alternate options with the Funeral Home, such as broadcasting the funeral online to family and friends, if you choose to do so.
The Funeral Home will request a suitable outfit for the deceased to wear in the coffin or before the cremation.
It will now be time to decide on the following;
Estate Administration Death Certificate
Either the doctor or police will issue the Notification of Death (DHA 1663). You will need to send this form, together with others and ID copies of the deceased, to the Department of Home Affairs. They will then register the death and issue a DHA5 Death Certificate. Try to obtain several certified copies of this certificate, as you will require them for many of the administrative processes to follow. Most Funeral Homes will be able to assist you with this process.
Processing the Deceased’s Estate
By law, the Master of the High Court must receive notification of the deceased’s Estate. You will need to locate the Will of the deceased to establish who the Executor of the Will is and make contact with them.
If no Executor has been appointed, then contact a law firm such as AED Attorneys, who will report the Estate to the Master, and appoint an Executor.
If you cannot find the Will, or the person died Intestate (with no Will), you will also need to call an Attorney – preferably one which the deceased used. The Estate is then required to be administered under the Intestate Succession Act, and the Master will appoint an Executor.
Once the death certificate has been issued, the administrative processes can start, such as contacting the deceased’s nominated executor or if you need help with the reporting of the estate and the administration a law firm such as AED Attorneys.
This is a list of some of the documents that may be required for an Estate to be reported:
If your loved one planned adequately to ensure that everything was in order and an Executor was appointed, then the Estate’s administration may still be completed relatively quickly. AED Attorneys assists with the drafting of Wills, setting up Estates and the processing of Deceased Estates in an efficient, yet sympathetic manner.
AED Attorneys understands that every situation is unique, and although they strive to ensure that the information contained herein is accurate at the time of publishing, it cannot be guaranteed to be without errors or omissions. As a result, AED Attorneys, its employees, independent contractors, associates or third parties will under no circumstances accept liability or be held liable, for any innocent or negligent actions or omissions in this article, which may result in any harm or liability flowing from the use of or the inability to use the information provided.
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