When Someone Dies

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Chapter 1: As Death Approaches
• Who's in charge before the death?
• Does the person have an advance medical directive, also called a durable power of attorney for health care?
• If the person prepared an advance directive/durable power of attorney for health care...
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Important legal information

For specific questions about wills, probates, estate planning, and laws in specific states, we highly recommend The Executor’s Guide: Settling a Loved One’s Estate or Trust published by Nolo Press.


Below are some resources we recommend. If you know of others that were helpful to you, please let us know about them and we will include a link to them below – email suggestions to: whensomeoned@gmail.com

American Society of Appraisers
Find an appraiser near you to determine the value of bequeathed art, jewelry, collectibles, businesses, and so on.

A resource for caregivers. Includes a broadcast feature to notify friends and family of a loved one’s ailing health or passing.

Department of Veterans Affairs Burial and Memorial Benefits
Visit to secure burial flags, schedule a burial, and learn more about national cemeteries in your area.

Facebook Deactivation
Deactivate or memorialize a loved one’s Facebook account.

Federal Office of Personnel Management
Survivors of federal employees and former federal employees can learn more about their eligibility for benefits.

Federal Trade Commission
Contains “Funerals: A Consumer Guide” and articles outlining your rights as a consumer and considerations when choosing a funeral home.

Federation of Tax Administrators
All state tax forms are available here.

Funeral Consumer Guardian Society
Contains a funeral cost estimator.

Internal Revenue Service
Visit to download federal tax forms or obtain an EIN number to pay taxes on an estate. For IRS Form 56, “Notice Concerning
Fiduciary Relationship,” go to www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f56.pdf.

The Executor’s Guide: Settling a Loved One’s Estate or Trust
A resource for do-it-yourself legal work. Click on “Wills, Trusts, and Estate Planning” for books and other information on advance directives, medical powers of attorney, creating wills and trusts, and other elements of estate planning.

Obituary Guide
A free obituary template to help you craft the perfect biographical account.

Parents of Murdered Children
An online extension of the nationwide organization.

Probate Law Resources
Laws in every state specify estate values that trigger probate proceedings. Find out more at these Web sites:
Findlaw Estate Planning, at http://estate.findlaw.com
Estate Settlement.com, at http://www.estatesettlement.com
Estate Finance, at http://www.estatefinance.com

Survivors of Suicide
An interactive forum and support group.

Useful Telephone Numbers

Federal Office of Personnel Management
Survivors of federal employees and former federal employees can learn more about their eligibility for benefits.

Internal Revenue Service
1-800-829-4933; 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676)

Social Security Administration
1-800 -772-1213
You are obligated to report a death to Social Security by phone. At the time of writing, deaths cannot be reported online.

Veterans Administration
Call to inquire about benefits for surviving spouses.