Losing someone close to you is, by far, one of the most difficult things you’ll ever have to face. Death, whether sudden or from a long illness, is devastating. And it can be very painful for family and friends.
While you’ll be dealing with a wealth of emotions at this time, there will also be financial matters to address. It will be difficult during such a sad time, but it’s important to make sure your loved one’s finances are in order to avoid any surprises or further hardship down the road.
7 financial steps to take when a loved one dies
1. Get the death certificate. You’ll need the death certificate, or copies of it, to complete a lot of financial steps when a loved one dies, such as claiming insurance benefits or settling his or her estate.
2. Start the probate process. If your loved one had a will, the executor should begin the process with the probate court. An executor (named in the will) will be in charge of distributing your loved one’s assets to beneficiaries based on the will’s terms. If there’s no will, the probate court can help you begin to handle the estate.
3. Contact insurance companies or your loved one’s insurance agent. If your loved one had life insurance, you’ll need to file claim forms, including the death certificate, to receive benefits. Also remember to cancel your loved one’s other insurance policies (home, auto, etc.) as needed. Your loved one’s insurance company or agent can help identify what insurance policies your loved ones had in place.
4. Contact your loved one’s financial institutions or financial advisor. A financial institution or financial advisor can help identify what assets your loved one had (bank accounts, investments, etc.) or was eligible to receive (such as employer, union or pension benefits).
5. Contact government agencies. Notify Social Security of your loved one’s passing (the funeral director usually does so, but just be sure), as well as Medicare, Veterans Affairs or any agency that provided him or her with benefits. Contact your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles to cancel a license and voter registration. Also, contact the U.S. Post Office to determine where to forward your loved one’s mail.
6. Contact the “big three” credit bureaus. To help prevent identity theft, contact the three main credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) and send them copies of the death certificate. Check your loved one’s credit report occasionally to make sure no fraudulent accounts were opened.
7. Prepare your loved one’s final tax filings. An accountant, tax attorney or financial advisor can help you prepare and submit final tax filings on behalf of your loved one’s estate.
Make sure those you leave behind are financially protected
Dealing with any unresolved financial issues your loved one had can be a difficult and sometimes painful reminder of your loss. But if he or she had life insurance, it can make those issues significantly less stressful.
Life insurance is a vital tool to help your family feel financially secure should the unthinkable happen to you. Not only does it often cover any outstanding debts you may have had, it also provides your family with the freedom to mourn their loss without worrying about insufficient income.
Death is painful and confusing for those it leaves behind, and learning how to cope with the loss of a loved one is never easy. By purchasing a life insurance policy from Alfa Insurance®, you can feel confident knowing that, if something happens to you, your family will be financially protected. Call your local Alfa® agent today to talk about a life insurance policy that’s right for you.