The time immediately following the death of a loved one can be overwhelming, with grief and bereavement complicated by a seemingly endless number of tasks. The immediate days following the death will be focused on the funeral or memorial service arrangements. Soon after, however, various financial and legal issues must be addressed. Many people find it very difficult to be sure they have taken care of everything. The following is a list of tasks that are likely to need attention:
Volk Leber Funeral Home sends a Statement of Death (form SSA-721) to the Social Security Administration. Social Security benefits include a one time benefit of $255.00 to the surviving spouse or dependent children. If you have any questions and/or are eligible for survivor or minor children benefits, please contact the Social Security Administration at www.socialsecurity.gov or by telephone at 1-800-772-1213. If the deceased was receiving benefits, most checks that arrive after death will need to be returned to the Social Security Administration.
At the initial arrangement conference, Volk Leber Funeral Home will have helped you to determine the number of Death Certificates you need. These are required for proof of death to change the title on the deceased’s assets such as automobiles, bank accounts, stock certificates and life insurance policies. Additional copies can be obtained by contacting the Funeral Home.
If the deceased was working, contact the employer for information on health insurance, pension plans, credit unions and union death benefits.
File a claim against every policy. If needed, Volk Leber is available to assist you with this process. If the deceased is listed as the beneficiary on any other life insurance policy, request the required forms to name a new beneficiary.
Contact the health insurance company or employer regarding terminating coverage for the deceased while continuing coverage for others covered through the policy.
Labor Unions or Fraternal Organizations
If the deceased was a member, inquire about benefits.
Financial and Credit Obligations
Inquire on all loans, service contracts and credit cards to find out if they were covered by credit life insurance. If yes, the balance would be paid in full at the time of death and the deceased’s estate would owe nothing. If they were not covered by credit life insurance, then contact the creditor(s) to continue payment.
Notify credit card companies of the death to close accounts. If the card(s) was issued in the deceased and survivor’s names, you may want to find out the requirements to change and issue a new card(s) solely in the survivor’s name. Note: Inquire about transferring frequent flyer miles, if applicable.
Bank/Credit Union Accounts/Trusts
If a joint account(s) exists, you may wish to name someone else to the account. If social security checks were being directly deposited into an account, the financial institution needs to be notified of the death. If the estate is in trust, contact the Trust Department of the financial institution for instructions. Note: Some credit unions offer life insurance.
Individual Retirement Accounts
If the surviving spouse is the beneficiary, decide whether to roll the IRA over to the surviving spouse’s IRA account(s).