What to Do When a Loved One Dies

When a loved one dies, not only does the family have to deal with the emotion of losing their loved one, the family must also deal with the overwhelming responsibility of closing out the person’s financial life. The following is a list of things that the family and loved ones must deal with after a person’s death:
1. Get multiple copies of death certificates. The family will need multiple copies of death certificates to provide to banks, the register of deeds, lawyers and social security offices. A funeral director should be able to help you with obtaining these documents.
2. Notify your local Social Security Office of the death of your loved one. This will stop all benefit payments and prevent the over-payment of benefits.
3. Contact the deceased person’s employer or former employer to determine if there are any pensions or death benefits for the deceased employee.
4. Notify all life insurance companies to determine if there is a death benefit associated with any life insurance policy on the life of the deceased.
5. Terminate all auto or disability insurance policies.
6. Contact a probate attorney. In the State of Kansas, a Last Will and Testament must be filed with the court within 6 months from the date of death or it is no longer valid. Although it is not always necessary to open an estate with the court for the deceased, it is very important to have an attorney review the deceased person’s estate to determine whether court intervention is necessary. If the deceased person held all his/her assets in a Trust, it is still important to retain an attorney to review the Trust and insure that it is compliance with state law.
7. If you are named as Administrator or Executor of the estate, it is important for that person to obtain all bills and account statements to make sure they are included in any estate of the deceased.
8. Close all credit card accounts for the deceased.
9. Contact a tax preparer to insure that all final returns are filed.

Losing a loved one at any age is a difficult process to go through.  It can become even more difficult when the finances and the estate of the deceased are ignored.