When a close family member passes away, there are certain steps that you should take, as soon as you possibly can.
Death can be overwhelming for the family of the deceased. On top of the grieving process itself, there are many other things which families have to deal with. There are obvious things that need to be done, such as planning a memorial and burial or cremation.
There are also legal issues with the estate that also need to be resolved and the sooner the better. Getting a handle on those legal things can be difficult.
Making sure that someone in the family has access to the home of the deceased. A walk through of the home should be done to make sure that anything of value is secure and to look for all financial and legal documents.
Closing all financial accounts. Make sure that banks and credit card companies know someone has passed away. Provide them with any documentation they need to put holds on the accounts. If no one will be living in the home, make sure unnecessary services such as cable and phone are stopped.
If you are going to be the executor of the estate, get a general idea of the estate's finances by looking at any tax documents and financial statements.
Meeting with an accountant and an estate attorney to learn what you need to do and consider whether you need to hire them to assist you.
Talking to other family members to try and reach agreements about how the estate should be handled and by whom. This will help avoid fights later.