Important documents and questions checklist

Handling the administrative tasks after a death can seem overwhelming, but the following checklist and list of questions can help.

Print this page and use it as a checklist to make sure that you have all of the documents that you need:

Death certificates (10 - 15 certified copies)  
Social insurance number, driver’s license, medical coverage card  
Marriage certificate  
Birth certificate of person, if applicable  
Insurance policies  
Deed and titles to property  
Will, if available  
Stock certificates  
Bank books  
Honourable discharge papers for a veteran and/or Veteran Affairs claim number  
Recent income tax forms  
Automobile title and registration papers  
Loan documents or contracts  
List of contacts of family and friends  
List of health, home, and community services used (such as dentist, family doctor and/or specialists, meal-on-wheels, home care services, utility companies, telecommunication services, wandering registries, and social services – such as the local Alzheimer Society)  

Also consider the following important questions:

  • Were the funeral arrangements already made? If so, where is the documentation? If not, contact your local funeral home to discuss the next steps.
  • Did the person express any specific wishes about their funeral? If not, think about how the person would want their death marked and their life celebrated.
  • Do I need a burial permit in my province? Is there a specific process for this? Consult the Canadian Consumer Handbook to find funeral service regulators for your province.
  • Did the person have a will? Where is this document? If the person does not have a will or substitute decision-maker, you may need to speak to a lawyer or consult the Public Guardian and Trustee about next steps.
  • Has the person been receiving government pension and benefits? Be sure to notify the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) of the death by phone at 1-800-959-8281 or online.
  • Do I quality for government benefits? For more information about government benefits after a death, please see our pages on Compassionate care benefits and Government benefits after death.
  • Do I need to file a tax return for someone who has died? Consult the Canada Revenue Agency page: What to do when someone has died.
  • Is there anyone else I need to notify about the death outside of friends and family? Was the person a member of a social club, faith group, or organization such as the Alzheimer Society? Were they receiving community services such as Meals on Wheels? If so, contact these organizations.
  • What should I do with the person’s belongings and other items not covered in the will? Consider giving them away to close friends and family who will appreciate the items, or donate them to local charities.

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