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1. Order a headstone. Since headstones are rarely ready in time for a burial, you can save this task until after the funeral when you have some more time. You'll generally be able to order a headstone through the cemetery, but you'll have more options (and often lower prices) if you look online.

2. Order several copies of the death certificate. You’ll likely need anywhere between 5 and 10 copies (but possibly more), depending on the accounts that your loved one had open. Your funeral director will assist you in ordering them.

3. Start the probate process with the will. If the estate is relatively small, doesn’t contain unusual assets and isn’t likely to be disputed by family members you may be able to handle it on your own. However, it’s worth considering whether you should hire a lawyer to help.

4. Contact the National Insurance Scheme (NIS). A funeral grant is payable in respect of the death of an insured person who at the time of death was in receipt of (or had title to) Sickness Benefit, Maternity Benefit, Unemployment Benefit, Invalidity Benefit, or Old-Age Contributory Benefit. If you need to contact the NIS, you can reach them by phone at 1-246-467-4NIS (4647). Through the NIS you may be able to apply for survivor benefits. Visit the NIS website to learn more about their process and find any forms that you may be required to fill out.

5. Notify any banks or mortgage companies. If you’re unsure of what accounts your loved one held, use their mail and any online accounts you have access to in order to identify what accounts may be open. Then, take copies of the death certificate to each bank and change ownership of the accounts. You may need a court order to open and inventory a safe deposit box if a key isn’t readily available.

6. Reach out to any financial advisors or brokers. Try to identify any additional financial and investment accounts that your loved one held. Work with each one to transfer ownership. You’ll likely need a death certificate for each account.

7. Notify life insurance companies. Fill out the claim form for any life insurance policies that the deceased had. Also, suggest that friends and family who may have listed your loved one on their own life insurance policies update theirs.

8. Cancel insurance policies. This could include health insurance, car insurance, homeowner’s insurance, or anything else. Depending on the policy, reach out to either the insurance company or your loved one’s employer to stop coverage.

9. Determine any employment benefits. If your loved one was working at the time of their death, contact his or her employer to find out about union death benefits, pension plans and credit unions.

10. Identify and pay important bills. Make a list of bills that are likely to be due (e.g. mortgage, car payments, electricity), and do your best to track them down via the person’s mail and online accounts. Set up a plan to ensure these bills continue to be paid on time.

11. Close credit card accounts. Leverage your loved one’s mail, wallet, and any online accounts you have access to in order to identify open credit card accounts. For each one, you’ll likely need to call customer service and then email or mail a copy of the death certificate.

14. Cancel the person’s driver’s license. This will also help to prevent identity theft. Go online or call the Barbados Licensing Authority for instructions. Have a copy of the death certificate ready.

15. Memorialize your loved one's Facebook account. If your loved one was on Facebook, you can memorialize their account. This will let current friends continue to post and share memories but will keep anyone from logging into it in the future.

16. Close email accounts. Once you feel confident that you have necessary information on other accounts, it's a good idea to permanently close your loved one's email accounts as an additional step to prevent fraud and identity theft. Every email provider has their own process, so do a quick online search to figure out the steps you need to take.

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