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Steps to take after a loved one passes away

Losing a loved one is perhaps the hardest thing a person can go through in life. Not only do you have to deal with your own emotions and the emotions of your family members, you also have to attend to the overwhelming responsibility of getting your loved one's final affairs in order.

To help family members through this difficult time, the AARP put together a long and thorough checklist of tasks that need to be taken care of, and the best order to follow. This post will discuss the first few steps that need to be taken care of immediately.

Step 1: Set up organ donation, if necessary. If you aren't sure whether your loved one wanted to donate his or her organs, two easy places to check are the person's driver's license and an advance health care directive, like a living will or health care proxy. Your loved one may have also provided body bequeathal instructions.

Step 2: Inform other family members and close friends about the loss. If possible, the AAPR suggests getting people together in person or online through email or Facebook so that people can provide each other with support, and plans can be made together.

Step: Start making funeral arrangements. It is possible that your family member may have left instructions for a funeral or burial service in a letter of instruction. If not, work together with key family members to plan a funeral that a) the deceased loved one would want, b) the family can afford, c) is realistic, and d) will best help the family.

After the funeral has been held, the AARP suggests meeting with a probate attorney who can help settle the deceased family member's estate and address any remaining legal affairs.

One of the most important things for people dealing with the loss of a loved one to remember is that they shouldn't try to take on all of the duties by themselves. Instead, lean on others to help ease the heavy burden of closing out a loved one's life.

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