Dealing with a death in the family is always a difficult time. Today, many deaths come not unexpectedly, but after lengthy hospital stays or situations where the family has had time to prepare. While this time can make it easier on the family when the loved one dies, this isn’t always the case. Even knowing in advance that a family member will die doesn’t guarantee that your grieving time will be easier to bear.

To help you during this difficult period there are some practical steps you can take that will allow you to experience the grieving process without distraction.

Plan ahead for the funeral.

The practical requirements of planning a funeral can often seem daunting, especially when you are required to do so after learning of a sudden death. If you know in advance that the family member will die, you should take some time to finalize funeral arrangements before the death actually occurs. Arranging for payment, finalizing the details, and consulting with family about the ceremony preferences is something that can help you prepare.

Be ready for the legal process.

From obtaining copies of the death certificate to initiating probate, there are a number of legal processes that apply after a person dies that you need to be ready for. If you have not already done so, you will want to consult an attorney experienced in estate planning and probate.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Grieving people often fail to remember to take care of themselves in some very basic ways. Do not be afraid to ask friends if they can provide you with some simple assistance, such as bringing over occasional meals or coming over to do some basic household tasks as soon as you learn your loved one has died.