Important tasks and financial steps following death of loved one

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Losing a loved one is a difficult experience. Yet, during this time, you must complete a variety of tasks and make important financial decisions. The following checklist may help guide you through the matters that must be attended to:

Initial tasks

  • Call close family members, friends and clergy
  • Arrange the funeral, burial or cremation — look among his or her will or estate planning documents for final wishes or instructions.
  • Notify family and friends of final arrangements
  • Alert your loved one’s place of work, union, professional and volunteer organizations
  • Contact your own employer and arrange for bereavement leave
  • Place an obituary in the local paper
  • Notify your Professional Advisor’s — Financial Advisor, CPA and Estate Attorney
  • Obtain certified copies of the death certificate — you will need them when applying for benefits and settling the estate
  • Review your family member’s financial affairs and look for estate planning documents—also locate deeds, insurance policies, titles, marriage certificate, birth or adoption certificates of children, and military discharge papers.
  • Report the death to Social Security by calling (800) 772-1213 — if your loved one was receiving benefits via direct deposit, ask the bank to return funds received for the month of death and thereafter to Social Security. Do not cash any SS checks received by mail. Return all checks to SS as soon as possible. Visit www.ssa.gov to find out if you are eligible for death and/or survivor’s benefits.
  • Make a list of assets — put safeguards in place to protect any property. Make sure mortgage and insurance payments continue to be made while the estate is being settled.
  • Retrieve belongings from his or her workplace—collect any salary, vacation or sick pay owed. Ask about continuing health insurance coverage and potential survivor’s benefits.
  • Contact past employers regarding pension plans — and contact any IRA custodians or trustees.
  • Contact all credit card companies to inform them of the death—cancel all cards unless you’re named on the account and wish to retain the card.
  • Retitle jointly held assets—such as bank accounts, automobiles, stocks, bonds and real estate.
  • If the decedent owned, controlled or was a principal in a business—check to see if there are any buy-sell agreements under which his or her interest must be sold.

Within 1 to 2 months after death

  • Meet with Estate Planning Attorney — determine if Probate is required and update Estate Planning Documents.
  • Meet with your Financial Advisor — retitle accounts, update beneficiaries and review Goals and Objectives.
  • Meet with your CPA — discuss tax planning for current and upcoming year.

Disclosure: Cambridge does not provide legal or tax advice. Please contact a qualified professional to discuss your specific situation.

Prepared by Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. Copyright 2016.

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