Most people in Ireland responsible for arranging a funeral contact a funeral director for help with the arrangements. If you know that the deceased person left burial wishes with a particular undertaker or funeral planner, you should contact that undertaker or planner so they can put the deceased’s wishes into action immediately. Otherwise, you must now choose an undertaker or decide to make the funeral arrangements independently.
If it was the deceased’s wish to be buried, find out whether a burial plot has been pre-purchased and determine its exact location. If you are using a funeral director, they can help you with this. If not, contact the deceased’s solicitor or check their file where they kept important documents. If the deceased was a member of a religious group and you are not familiar with the traditions or rites that should be followed following their death, you should contact a representative of the group for guidance.
The deceased’s solicitor should be notified of the death of one of their clients so they can work on the legal implications of the death – in particular, to release any burial wishes or pre-arrangements noted in the person’s will. The will also specifies who is to serve as the executor or personal representative of the deceased. The executor is responsible for making sure that all creditors are paid, estate tax returns are filed and the remaining assets distributed according to the will. If the deceased died intestate (without a will), usually a surviving spouse, if there is one, or an adult child or parent will take on this role. Contact the next-of-kin, especially those abroad who may have to make travel arrangements. Close friends, relatives, neighbours, employers, classmates, and colleagues of the deceased should be notified as soon as possible. The best way to ensure that everyone is notified is to gather a small group of close relatives or friends of the deceased and ask them to start a ‘chain of calls’ to people in the wider community who need to know.
If the deceased person was employed, you will need to contact their employer.
You also may need a letter from the deceased’s solicitor confirming that you are the executor (if that is the case) or have authority to act on behalf of the deceased.
Although not urgent, it is important to remember to: