Dealing with the death of a loved one
What is it?
When a loved one dies, certain steps must be taken quickly. In the weeks following the death, it is necessary to inform the various organizations concerned, before beginning the settlement of the succession (inheritance).
Who is it for?
What to do?
Within 24 hours: declare the death
Having the death declared is the first step to take. It allows you to obtain the "death certificate".
How can the death be declared?
- In the event of death at home, you must contact a doctor,
- In the event of death in a social or health establishment (hospital, retirement home), the doctor on duty establishes the report,
- In the event of a violent death (accident, suicide), you must immediately contact the gendarmerie or the police station (you can call "17" or "112" or send an SMS to "114").
Within 24 hours: declare the death
The declaration of death must be made at the town hall of the place of death within 24 hours, excluding weekends and public holidays.
After this procedure, you will obtain the " death certificate", which is necessary for any other procedure.
Documents required to make the declaration:
- Your ID,
- The death certificate,
- Identity document of the deceased (birth certificate, identity document, etc.).
Please note : When the death occurs in a medical or social structure, the declaration of death is automatically made by the establishment.
Within 6 days: organize the funeral
The last wishes of the deceased must be respected. In the absence of instructions left by them, it is up to the family to choose how the funeral will take place (religious burial or not, burial or cremation, organ donation, body donation to science). In the event of disagreement in the family, the judicial court of the place of death may be called.
The funeral must take place within 6 working days after the death. It is therefore important to quickly contact a funeral director. They should provide you with a free, written, detailed quote.
Please note : You can ask your employer for specific leave. In the event of the death of a child, the number of days to which you are entitled may be increased if one of your colleagues donates his days off to you.
You can request to deduct the costs relating to the funeral from the deceased's bank account, up to a limit of € 5,000, if the account balance allows it.
Please note : It is possible to move the body of a deceased out of France to abroad (by land or sea), by respecting the procedure and the law. The family cannot transfer the body themselves. You must contact a funeral director.
All remains can be repatriated to their country of origin regardless of the age of the deceased (child or adult). Once arrived at its destination, the coffin is collected by the family and the appropriate services (ambulances or funeral directors).
Within 10 days: notify the paying agencies
Within 10 days of the death of a loved one, the various organizations of which the deceased was a beneficiary must be contacted:
- Employer: if your relative was a civil servant or employee. The employer must pay the salary for the current month and any bonuses.
- Pôle emploi if the deceased was unemployed.
- Pension funds if he was retired. On the death of your spouse or ex-spouse, you can receive, under certain conditions, a portion of their pensions: this is the survivor's pension. Pacs partners and cohabiting partners are not entitled to it.
- The Primary Health Insurance Fund and other health mutuals.
- Family Insurance Fund (CAF) in case of housing assistance or RSA.
- Any other organization paying social assistance.
You must also contact any employees of the deceased (carer, housekeeper, gardener, etc.). Their employment contract is automatically terminated. You must send them without delay a letter of dismissal by registered mail with acknowledgment of receipt.
Within 30 days
Banks in which the deceased held current accounts, investments or loans must be notified. Accounts other than joint accounts will be blocked pending settlement of the estate.
To settle the succession, it is difficult to do without the services of a notary. You are obliged to use it if the deceased has drawn up a will, made a donation between spouses, if their assets exceed 5,000 €, if he owns real estate or if they have entered into a marriage contract. You are free to choose the notary you want.
Within 30 days of the death, you must also take care of the accommodation rented or rented by the deceased:
- If the deceased was a tenant, you must ask the lessor to terminate the lease on the day of death or to transfer it. The person living with the deceased at the time of death may remain in the dwelling by becoming the holder of the lease.
- If the deceased was a landlord, the tenants must be informed of the name, address and bank details of the person who will now receive the rents. In general, the notary takes care of it.
- If the deceased was the owner of a condominium, the trustee must be notified.
- If the deceased lived in a retirement home or nursing home, do not forget to claim the security deposit as well as the accommodation benefits paid in advance. The establishment has 30 days, from the date of death, to return the sums due to the estate.
Please note :To find out all the banks for which the deceased was a client, you can request access to the bank accounts file (Ficoba) which lists all the accounts opened in France.
Estate and taxes
Once the estate is settled, the heirs sometimes have to declare the estate for tax purposes.
It depends on the heritage concerned, as well as the link between the heir and the deceased.
After making the declaration of inheritance, heirs sometimes have to pay inheritance tax .
The year following the death, you must declare the last income of the deceased to the tax authorities.
Emotionally overcome the death of a loved one
Losing a parent, friend, or even a child is one of life's toughest ordeals. Grieving is a long and complex journey that aims to tame your pain. Mourning is a unique experience that does not obey any predefined pattern. This healing and reconstruction process is unique to everyone. No matter what your beliefs, your culture, your family traditions or your religion: there are different ways to go through grief.
You may feel the need to confide your suffering to specialists or meet people who are going through the same thing as you.
In this case, you can turn to the following structures:
- Association "Vivre son deuil": www.vivresondeuil.asso.fr
- Association "Taming the absence": http://www.apprivoiserlabsence.com/
- Association "SOS Amitié": https://www.sos-amitie.com
To find structures near you, you can consult the following directory: https://www.empreintes-asso.com/les-soutiens-dans-vos-regions/