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Dealing with the passing of a parent while living out of state: What steps to take next?

On Behalf of | Apr 1, 2024 | Estate Planning

When a parent passes away, especially while you are living out of state, it can be an overwhelming and emotional experience. Challenges arise from the need to navigate through the necessary steps to handle their affairs while processing your own grief.

It may not be easy to know what steps to take next, but the right guidance can help you cross the physical and emotional distance.

Contact a local funeral home

Even if you live out of state, the responsibility of contacting a funeral home might fall on your shoulders if your parent does not have any other nearby relatives or if they did not name an executor in their will. Start by finding a reputable funeral home in the area where your parent passed away to make arrangements for their final services. The funeral home can assist with transportation and organizing the memorial service according to your family’s preferences.

Handle legal and financial matters

Address the legal and financial matters associated with your parent’s passing as soon as possible. This may include locating important documents such as their will and life insurance policies. Contact your parent’s banks, financial institutions and other relevant parties to notify them of the situation and start the process of settling your parent’s estate.

Sort through personal belongings

Take the time to sort through your parent’s personal belongings and determine what your family should keep, donate or discard. This can be an emotional process, so be sure to take breaks and seek support from family and friends if needed.

Update important records

Your parent’s mailing address, utilities, subscriptions and other accounts should reflect their passing. Updating these items will help prevent any confusion or complications down the line. It is also a necessary step to ensure that their affairs are properly handled.

Dealing with the passing of a parent is certainly difficult, especially when there is great physical distance to consider. The most important thing to do in this situation is to address your feelings at your own pace while also settling your parent’s estate in a timely manner.