A Certified Death Certificate is necessary before anything can be done. A death certificate can be obtained through a Funeral Director. It is a good idea to obtain multiple copies of a death certificate as most agencies require a certified certificate and not a photocopy.
Examples of what you would need a death certifacate for are:
Real Eastate- each property owned may need a certified copy to transfer ownership
Vehicles titled in the deceased name
Life insurance policys- each policy will need a certified copy
Pension, retirement accounts
Stocks and bond accounts