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Here's Step by Step What To Do When Someone Dies in Florida

Everyone is going to need this list at some point in life. Save this bookmark now in your permanent favorites. It will be there on that day when you need it.

Step 1. Make a notice of the death : a medical professional will make an official pronouncement of the death. This happens before the body is moved to a funeral home.

Step 2. Notify friends and family personally. In addition, we recommend as early as possible now a social media post after immediate family and friends are contacted personally first.

Step 3. The executor should access and review the legal documents in detail. If you are a Form America LLC client, we can review those with you. Contact if you would like us to help you read through these, free of charge.

Step 4. Organ donation instructions from the executor to the funeral home need to be communicated immediately. We suggest both on the phone and in writing via email. That information can be found in the Advance Medical Directive.

Step 5. The executor will be directing the funeral home on how to handle the final disposition of the body. If you happen to have a Final Expense Insurance policy through Form America or Final Expense Florida contact for assistance in securing the immediate funds available from the policy.

Step 6. Get a hold of the funeral parlor within the next day to begin making plans for the funeral. They will walk you through the steps. We recommend an in person visit to them at your earliest convenience.

Step 7. Write an obituary, and contact your local paper for advertising information.

Step 8. Get the death certificate from the funeral home. You will need to have a bunch of copies of this on hand to submit to various parties. Get this right away from the funeral home. You will need a dozen death certificates.

Step 9. The custodian of a Will (executor) must deposit the original copy of the Will with the clerk of the Court having the venue of the decedent's estate within 10 days of receiving information that the testator is dead. (S. 732.901, Florida Statutes.) There is no fee to deposit the Will with the clerk of Court. If there is no will, the Florida probate court will decide who the estate is shared with and how. If there is a properly notarized ("self proving") will, this process will basically be a "rubber stamp approval" of the will without judicial intervention. The judge will issue “Letters of Administration,” also referred to simply as “Letters.” These “Letters” are evidence of the personal representative’s authority to administer the decedent’s probate estate. This can happen as quickly as a week after the Will is delivered by the executor to the court, but can take as long as a month.

If there is a Revocable Trust involved, that is a whole separate procedure not included in the simplicity of Florida's laws regarding self proving wills. The complexity of asset disposition from a Trust generally requires legal assistance, and will not be covered within this article.

Step 10. We will write a separate article on steps the executor will take to identify and preserve assets, and identify liabilities

Step 11. The executor will be cleared by the court to distribute and transfer the estate. Nothing needs to be addressed immediately.

Step 12. Notify social security of the death right away to stop payments so you don't need to deal with overpayment later. (usually the funeral parlor does this automatically for you, but check with them first). (800) 772-1213.

Additional reading from the Florida Bar :

There's so much to cover here that the executor's specific duties and action items will be a second article.

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