Call the funeral home you have selected. If you have not chosen a funeral home ahead of time, the Funeral Directors' Association can give you information on funeral homes in your area, or ask a friend, family member, or clergy for a reference to a local funeral home.
If your loved one was a veteran, you may be able to get assistance with the funeral, burial plot, or other benefits. For information on benefits call the Veterans Administration at 800-827-1000. Also, the phone number for your local Veterans Agency is usually listed under Town Offices. You will need a copy of your loved one's discharge papers.
Obtain 10-15 copies of the Death Certificate from your funeral director.
If your loved one was receiving Social Security benefits, notify your local Social Security office of the death, since these benefits will stop. Overpayments will result in a difficult process of repayment. If you are a surviving spouse, ask about your eligibility for increased benefits. Also, check on benefits that any minor children may be entitled to receive.
Contact the health insurance company or employer regarding terminating coverage for the deceased while continuing coverage for others covered through the policy.
Contact the insurance company for all life insurance policies. You will need to provide the policy number and a certified copy of the death certificate and fill out a claim form. If the deceased is listed as the beneficiary on any other policy, arrange to have the name removed.
If the deceased was working, contact the employer for information on pension plans, credit unions and union death benefits. You will need a certified copy of the death certificate for each claim.
Return credit cards of the deceased with a certified copy of the death certificate, or notify the credit card company if you, as the survivor, want to retain use of the card.
Seek the advice of an accountant or tax advisor about filing the deceased's tax return for the year of the death. Keep monthly bank statements on all individual and joint accounts that show the account balance on the day of death, since you will need this information for the estate tax return.
Arrange to change any joint bank accounts into your name. If the deceased's estate is in trust, check with the Trust Department or Customer Service at the bank.
If the deceased owned a car, transfer the automobile title into your name at the Secretary of State's Office, or if the estate is probated, through Probate Court.
Arrange to change stocks and bonds into your name. Your bank or stockbroker will have the forms.
Make sure that important bills, such as mortgage payments, continue to be paid.
Documents you may need to complete the tasks
Death Certificates (10 - 15 certified copies)
Social Security Card
Birth Certificate for each child, if applicable
Deed and Titles to Property
Honorable Discharge Papers for a Veteran and/or V.A. Claim Number
Recent Income Tax Forms and W-2 Forms
Automobile Title and Registration Papers
ORGANIZING FINANCIAL RECORDS
NOTE: If you store any of the following information on your computer, make a list of all passwords, indicate where any diskettes are stored and where the information can be found.
1. Create a list of financial accounts. List account numbers and pertinent information about your investments, bank accounts, insurance policies (life, disability, homeowners, credit and life) and other financial matters.
2. List the location of valuable documents. Your list might include deeds, car titles, military records, birth and marriage certificates, divorce decrees and estate planning documents.
3. List your personal data. This can include your Social Security number, driver’s license number, VA claim number, your date of birth and the names and phone numbers of family members.
4. Make arrangements for access to your safe-deposit box. In many states, safe-deposit boxes are closed upon death and are not opened until probate. Make sure copies of your will and other important documents are available outside of your safe-deposit box.
5. List loan payments. This listing should include information about credit cards, mortgages, consumer loans, and auto and personal loans.
1. If desired, you may estimate the liability on each asset at the projected time of the surviving spouse's demise.
2. J for Joint Tenancy ; C for Community Property; H for Husband; W for Wife.
3. Enter the rate at which you feel the asset will increase in value. For example: Cash in Bank - 5%;
4. Home - 8%; Autos - 0%,
5. Enter a Y if the asset could be easily and quickly sold for its true market value and the proceeds used to pay estate settlement costs.