What happens when the President dies?

THERE are a number of procedures in place for when a president of the United States dies.

From planning their funeral, to who takes charge, here's what happens after a president's death.

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What happens when the President dies?

When a U.S. president dies, federal law requires all government buildings, public schools, offices, and military bases to lower their flags half mast.

All federal buildings, agencies, and departments may also be ordered to close for a national day of mourning.

When does the funeral take place?

A president will plan their funeral during their first few days in office – and their family will largely coordinate the day when it comes.

The casket of a sitting president who died in office may lie in repose for several days in the White House before their funeral takes place.

Former presidents may also do this in their home before their casket is taken to Washington, D.C. where they may lie in state in the United States Capitol Rotunda.

Before the casket of a president heads to its final resting place, it is likely to travel down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. one last time. 

Who becomes president?

If the president dies, resigns or is removed from office, the vice president becomes president for the rest of the term.

What happens if the president and vice president die?

If both the president and vice president die, the Speaker of the House of Representatives will act as president in their place.

Has any presidential candidate died?

No presidential candidate from a major party has ever died or withdrawn before a presidential election and no president-elect has ever died or withdrawn before taking office.

One vice-presidential candidate, however, died just days before the presidential election in 1912.

Candidate James Sherman died in late October that year and was not replaced on the presidential ticket.

What happens if the president dies before taking office?

If a US candidate running for president dies between the popular vote and the meeting of the Electoral College – the body which is formed every four years for electing the president and vice president of the United States – the parties will try to replace the candidate.

If the candidate that dies is on the winning presidential ticket, it's still the party's responsibility to provide a new candidate who the electorate could vote into office.

The replacement candidate's name would go on the Electoral College ballot only, and their political party would expect its voters to vote that candidate into office.

There's no federal law, however, saying electors have to vote for the replacement candidate.

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