Working out what you have to do when someone dies is often overwhelming. Letting family and friends know is the obvious place to start, but there are also several organizations you need to notify of someone's passing.
This guide explains what you need to do straight away after a death, and also helps you determine what needs to be done in the weeks and months after someone's passing.
Who to contact immediately after someone has died?
If the death was unexpected, the first call you need to make is to the emergency services. In case these are not available in your area, contact the local coroner's office instead.
For an expected death, contact the doctor who was caring for the deceased person. In some cases, you may be unsure about the circumstances of someone's passing. When in doubt, contact the local coroner's office.
You will need to get a medical certificate and register the death as soon as possible so you can start arranging the funeral. Funeral directors will usually be able to help you register the death with the provincial government.
Who to notify in the weeks after a death?
After the death has been registered, there are several authorities that need to be notified. These may vary depending on the deceased's situation, but the following steps typically apply to most persons.
- The government — you need to inform the government about someone's passing if they were receiving government benefits. All payments that may have been made after the death have to be paid back.
- Pension administrator — if the person who passed was receiving a pension, notify the pension administrator. Any overpayments will also need to be paid back.
- Bank or credit union — inform the deceased's bank or credit union as well as all the companies that may have issued them credit cards. These include department stores and any other places where the deceased's credit could be use improperly. You may also need to take steps to close out the accounts.
- Credit bureaus — notify both Equifax and TransUnion about the death in order to reduce risk of fraud.
- Utilities — make a list of all utilities providers the deceased was using and notify them. These typically include electricity, gas, oil delivery, cell phone, broadband, streaming services and cable TV providers.
- Property manager or mortgage broker — if the deceased had an outstanding mortgage, notify their mortgage broker. You may need to contact the owner or property manager if the deceased was renting in order to terminate the tenancy.
This is a basic list of authorities and companies you need to notify when someone dies. Not all of them are applicable to everyone, and there may be more places to notify, depending on the deceased's personal circumstances.
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