When a Loved One Dies


Below you will find links to resources that provide information about what to do when a loved one dies. You'll find information like a widow's checklist and how to pay the debts of a loved one. You can also find  forms for notifying the proper agencies. Additionally, you can find information on how to seek aid from a lawyer, if needed. Some areas of the state have more information than others. You may wish to look at information from other areas in addition to your own.


When A Loved One Dies

National Resources

Traveling with the Remains of Deceased

If a loved one dies and you need to travel with cremated remains, this resource from TSA can help provide more information.

Widow’s Checklist

This checklist from the Women's Institute For A Secure Retirement can help you know what to expect about your pension after a loved one passes away.

Paying the Debts of a Deceased Relative: Who Is Responsible?

If your relative has died, you may receive calls from a debt collector regarding unpaid debts. This resource from the Federal Trade Commission provides helpful information about who is responsible for those debts and what to do.

Notifying Social Security of Death

This resource from the Social Security Administration provides information on how to report a death to Social Security. Additionally, you can find out how to apply for Survivors Benefits.

Information for Veterans and Family

Stateside Legal offers legal help for military members, veterans, and their families. Find out more about the resources they offer by clicking the link above.

Help With Pension Problems

If you have issues with your pension, the Mid-America Pension Rights Project may be able to help. Follow the link above to find more information about their services.


Statewide Resources

Ordering Death Certificates

You can order a death certificate in person, by mail, or online. Find out how to do so from the Tennessee Department of Health.

How to Title and Register a Vehicle You Inherit

This resource, provided by DMV.org, has valuable information on how to change the title on a vehicle that you inherited. In addition to general information, it also lists the documents needed to transfer the title.


Legal Advice:

TN Free Legal Answers

If you are in Tennessee, the website, Free Legal Answers,  allows you to ask a lawyer for help with a legal issue at no cost.  It is fast and easy, and all you need is a computer. This is a FREE service for people who cannot afford a lawyer. 

How it works: 

  • You will answer a few questions to see if you qualify for their service. If you qualify, you will have the option to create an account.
  • If you are eligible, you can ask their volunteer attorneys a non-criminal legal question.
  • Once your question receives a response, you will get an email. You will need to sign into the website to read your response and ask any additional questions.

Visit https://tn.freelegalanswers.org/ to sign up.

Find Representation:

Statewide Directory

The Statewide Directory provides information regarding Legal Aid Attorneys and other agencies by county in Tennessee.

Still need assistance? Please speak to a librarian at your local library. They may have additional resources to assist you.

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