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What Should You Do When a Loved One Dies?

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The pandemic has made life doubly difficult, and death in the family is never easy. While everyone has to go through the grieving and taking care of the person who passed, there are some essential undertakings that you have to be mindful of to reduce additional burdens associated with the death in the family. Be sure to talk to the person’s estate planning attorney if he/she has one.

1: Step one is to contact the Social Security Administration so the payments will stop. Getting Social Security is imperative,primarily if they directly deposit cash to the now deceased’s bank account. If you can, contact the pension administrator to inform him/her about the death. In many cases, pensions can continue for another member of the family.

2: After contacting Social Security, it’s time to move on to the deceased liabilities. If the dead hasany current loans and credit cards, those have to be frozen so that no one can get into them and use them fraudulently.

The identity theft of the deceased can still happen if the accounts are not frozen, so it’s essential to determine if any liabilities have not been settled or credit lines that are still open or active.

3: Determine if the deceased have joint bank accounts with anyone. Joint bank accounts will allow you to access vital funds that can be used for funeral arrangements and other expenses related to the person’s passing. Financial stability is critical during this period, and funeral arrangements can be expensive. If unsure, speak to the person’s estate planning attorney.

4: This isn’t an urgent step, but it is just as important. If you have been named the deceased’s executor, consider creating a mailing forward for his/her mail.

You can keep an eye on mail and work on any possible issues that may arise after the death. It can be challenging to visit the deceased’s home to check on mail regularly, so this is the most practical solution.

5: Did the deceased engage in any estate planning before his/her passing? Did he/she have an estate planning attorney?Try to find any documents (especially the legal documents) related to inheritances and the deceased’s estate. For now, work on making those critical documents accessible for the right people (including yourself).

6: Check for any insurance policies – all of them. If the deceased owns one or several homes, you’d want to ensure that these properties all have insurance coverage. If you are not liquid and the death has caused a financial burden on your or the deceased’s family, try to get ahold of any life insurance policies that the dead may have had.

You may be able to coordinate with the funeral director and the insurance company so that a percentage of any receivables from any good life insurance plans can be diverted to paying the funeral home.

Some additional reminders include:

1: Make sure that you get a legal pronouncement of the death. If your loved one died in a hospital or nursing home, the staff are usually tasked to handle this step.

However, if the deceased expired at home or from someplace unexpected,you still need a medical professional to declare the death. If someone passes at home, call 911 immediately.

The deceased will have to be transported to an emergency room before death can be declared.If the deceased died in hospice care, the hospice nurse is allowed to announce the end. Without the official legal pronouncement of a person’s death, not much can be done about the funeral and the legal affairs of the recently departed.

2: Be sure to inform friends and family about the death. A mass text message or email would be a good idea. Telling the deceased’s workplace is also a good idea and the person’s church if any. If the deceased had left no specific instructions about his/her death, you must convene the right persons to discuss the funeral arrangements.

3: In an ideal situation, you may have spoken to the person before he/she died, and he/she may have mentioned funeral plans.The deceased’s estate planning attorney would possibly know about these plans as well.

If there were no exchanges about these crucial details, it would be a good idea to search the deceased’s belongings to see if there are any letters of instruction. Existing funeral plans should ideally be considered, but these would have to be worked out alongside the family’s financial capacity and what the immediate family can provide.

4: If the departed were in the military, contact the Veterans Administration to determine if you can get any burial benefits or funeral services.

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