Things To Do After Someone Dies
Death is an unfortunate, harsh reality of life. The question that is commonly asked after the death of a loved one is “What do I do now?” The following is a checklist of some necessary things that need to be done when someone you love passes on.
- Get Multiple Copies of the Death Certificate – When a death occurs, the death certificate is the first and most important document that needs to be completed. It is advised that you obtain at least 10 copies of the Death Certificate. Why? A multitude of financial institutions, government agencies, creditors, unions, membership groups, and other organizations will refuse to talk to you about a loved one’s financial affairs—let alone take action, like closing the deceased’s account—until you provide a death certificate.
- Obtain Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration – Prior to reaching out to institutions that the deceased was working with, you’ll have to provide proof that you have a right to wrap up the deceased’s financial affairs. The proof you need is in the form of documents called letters of testamentary, or letters of administration
- Consult a Lawyer—Even if You Decide Not to Hire One – After a loved one dies, the last thing many people want to do is hire legal help and compound their costs. However, the advice and help one can get from a lawyer is very useful during a time like this. A qualified professional could save an estate thousands of dollars, make the process of settling an estate much easier, and help family members avoid potential liability.
- Collect and Secure Pertinent Documents – One of the most difficult and time-consuming tasks associated with dealing with someone passing away is gathering the multitude of documents that need to be assembled. For some families, this can be a nightmare due to poor record-keeping, poor planning, and a lack of knowledge about where these critical documents are located.
- Notify Financial Institutions, Government Agencies, and Others – The next step is to notify all of the following places of the individual’s death:
- Social Security Administration
- The deceased person’s employer
- Insurance companies
- Credit bureaus
- Credit card companies
- Post office
- Utility companies
6. Cancel or Transfer Accounts, Memberships, and Subscriptions – Following someone’s death, you don’t want subscriptions, memberships, or services they’ll no longer be using to stay active. It is important to cancel these things immediately, along with credit card, insurance, and financial accounts that will be inactive.
7. Apply for Benefits Due to Survivors – For a wide array of insurance policies, as well as financial contracts—including car loans, mortgages, and credit card agreements— find out whether insurance premiums were paid on the accounts. If they were, cash benefits may be due to the heirs.
8. Pay Final Bills and Guard Against Financial Fraud – While paying the final bills for a deceased individual, don’t forget about things like property taxes or incomes taxes that might be due. Carrying out the duties of an executor also means protecting the deceased person and his or her heirs against financial fraud and exploitation.
If you or a loved one is put in charge of this daunting task or you want to get your affairs in order so your loved ones have it easier in the future, contact the Phoenix estate planning attorneys here at Kamper, Estrada & Simmons, LLP. We’re here to help. Call us today!