Losing a loved one is a terrible ordeal to which you have to add a whole lot of red tape.

It's hard to think of everything when you are overwhelmed by grief.

However, these steps are important for the family, since they condition many rights, especially in terms of inheritance.

Within 24 hours: declaration of death

The first thing to do after the loss of a loved one is to have a doctor declared their death within 24 hours.

He will thus establish a death certificate.

It is the health establishment which will take care of it if the death did not take place at home but in a hospital or in a nursing home.

In the event of a violent death, such as an accident or suicide, it is imperative to notify the gendarmerie or the police.

A report of the circumstances of the death will be drawn up.

You must then notify the town hall, which will draw up a death certificate and send the information to INSEE.

This document will then be useful for you to carry out all the administrative formalities.

During the week: the organization of the funeral

The week following the death should be devoted to preparing for the funeral.

In fact, the burial or cremation must take place within six working days, Sundays and holidays not included, unless a derogation is obtained to benefit from an additional period.

After contacting a funeral director, you will need to state the deceased's last wishes.

The professionals will take care of organizing the convoy, the bottling, the transport of the body and the ceremonies according to your expectations.

If you cannot afford the funeral expenses, you can request that these expenses be deducted from the deceased's bank account, up to a limit of 5,000 euros.

Note that if your loved one employed home helpers such as a carer, a housekeeper or a gardener, you will have to send them a letter of dismissal by registered mail with acknowledgment of receipt.

Their contract will be automatically terminated, but it will be necessary to pay allowances and other paid holidays.

During the month: notify all organisms

In the month following the death, it is important to sort through the deceased's papers. We update the family record book, we take stock of debts and receivables, but also on surety bonds. If the missing person leaves a minor child, it is imperative to refer the matter to the guardianship judge, who will take the necessary steps to protect the heritage that belongs to him. If there is movable property to keep (car, paintings, valuables ...), call a bailiff, who will establish an inventory and affix seals pending settlement of the estate.

You will also need to notify the mutual, insurance and banks. Here too, pending succession, the accounts will be blocked. The expenses incurred before the death will however be debited as well as the taxes, the medical expenses of the deceased, the rents and the estate debts whose settlement is urgent. The Family Allowance Fund as well as Pôle Emploi must also be notified, in order to declare a change of situation, just like the pension funds. This will allow the spouse to receive the survivor's pension. First, send a registered letter with a copy of the death certificate to the various basic and supplementary pension funds, so that they stop paying pensions.You then have twelve months after the death to send the reversion request file to the various organizations by mail or via the Info-retraite.fr online service.

Finally, do not forget to cancel the various communication subscriptions (telephone, Internet, etc.), but also those of energy suppliers (gas and electricity).

If the disappeared was a tenant, inform his lessor of his death and know that the spouse of the deceased is entitled to remain in the accommodation, under conditions which vary according to his marital bond.

Within six months: settle the estate

The last step is to settle the estate between the different heirs.

The ideal is to contact a notary, who will verify the existence or not of a will previously deposited with a colleague.

He can then proceed with the sharing of the heritage.

Be aware, however, that the use of a notarial office is mandatory only if there is real estate at stake or if the amount of the inheritance is equal to or greater than 5,000 euros.

Once the estate is settled, you will have to declare it for tax: there are indeed applicable taxes and inheritance taxes to be paid.


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  • Notary

  • Succession

  • Economy

  • Funeral