What Steps to Take When Someone Dies?

Dealing with the death of a loved one is a difficult and emotional process. When someone dies in Canada, there are several important steps and legal requirements to follow.

what steps to take when someone dies

What are the initial steps to take when someone dies in Canada?

The first steps to take when someone passes away in Canada include:

Notify Authorities:

If the death occurs at home and was expected due to a terminal illness, you should contact the deceased person’s healthcare provider or hospice nurse, if applicable.


If the death is sudden, unexpected, or the result of an accident, you must call 911 or your local emergency number immediately to report the death. The police and/or a coroner may need to be involved.

Obtain a Death Certificate:

In Canada, you will need a death certificate to prove the person has passed away. You can obtain this through the provincial or territorial vital statistics office or through a funeral home.

Contact a Funeral Home:

You can contact a funeral home to make arrangements for the deceased. Funeral directors can assist with the transportation of the body, embalming if desired, and organizing a funeral or memorial service.

Notify Family and Friends:

Inform family members, close friends, and the deceased person’s employer or school about the death.

Organize Funeral or Memorial Service:

Plan and arrange a funeral or memorial service, if desired. This may include selecting a burial plot or cremation, choosing a casket or urn, and arranging for a minister or celebrant to officiate.

Notify Government Agencies and Service Providers:

Contact government agencies and service providers to report the death and cancel services such as the deceased person’s:


  • driver’s license
  • social insurance number
  • health card
  • passport

Update Legal Documents:

Update legal documents such as wills, insurance policies, and bank accounts to reflect the person’s death.

Settle the Estate:

If the deceased person had a will, the executor named in the will is responsible for settling the estate, including distributing assets and paying any outstanding debts or taxes.

Notify Creditors:

Notify creditors and financial institutions about the death to prevent identity theft or fraudulent activity.

Grieve and Seek Support:

Grieving is a personal process, and it’s essential to seek emotional support from friends, family, or a counselor during this difficult time.

Legal Matters:

Consult with a lawyer, if necessary, to handle legal matters associated with the deceased person’s estate.

Estate Taxes:

Be aware of any estate taxes that may be applicable. In Canada, there are no inheritance taxes, but there could be capital gains taxes on certain assets.

fee online & inperson notary
Schedule Your Appointment

What notarization services do I need in the process of handling a deceased person’s affairs?

Notarization services are typically required for various documents during the process of handling a deceased person’s affairs. Some common instances include:


  • Certified true copies: During the process of handling a deceased person’s affairs, certified true copies of the deceased person’s will, power of attorney and financial documents may be required.


  • Notarized forms and Affidavits: Affidavits may be required to verify information, such as the deceased’s identity or relationship with the deceased, and often need to be notarized. Financial institutions or insurance companies may ask you to fill out forms and have them notarized.


  • Estate Documents: Various estate documents, like grant of probate or letters of administration, often require notarization to establish the executor’s authority.

What is the role of a notary public in Canada when someone dies?

A notary public in Canada plays a crucial role when someone dies by:


  • Verifying Documents: Notaries verify the authenticity and accuracy of documents related to the deceased’s estate, ensuring they meet legal requirements.


  • Administering Oaths and Affirmations: Notaries administer oaths or affirmations for individuals making statements or affidavits during the probate process.


  • Witnessing Signatures: Notaries witness the signing of important documents, such as wills, powers of attorney, and affidavits.


  • Certifying Copies: They can also certify copies of original documents, which may be necessary for various legal processes.

How can I find a notary public for these services?

Finding a notary public in Canada is relatively straightforward. Book an appointment on our website for in-person or online / virtual notarization services. 

What should I bring when visiting a notary public for notarization services?

When visiting a notary public for notarization services related to a deceased person’s affairs, you should bring:


  • Valid Identification: Ensure you have government-issued photo identification, such as a driver’s license or passport.


  • Original Documents: Bring the original documents that require notarization. The notary will need to verify their authenticity.


  • Witnesses (if required): Some documents may require witnesses. If so, bring the necessary individuals along with their identification.

It’s important to note that the specific steps and requirements may vary by province or territory in Canada, so it’s advisable to consult with local authorities or a legal professional for guidance tailored to your situation. Additionally, having a will in place can greatly simplify the process of settling the deceased person’s affairs.