Single Again - Steps After Losing A Loved One

We extend our sympathy with the loss of your loved one. At this time, you have many responsibilities and decisions, which need to be made, in addition to funeral arrangements. The following are suggestions of items that might need attention. You may need to consult an attorney, financial or tax planner for some issues.

Gather the family together and discuss funeral arrangements:
  • Make a list of what type of funeral arrangements are to be made, creating a budget you can afford
  • Keep in mind what the deceased would have wanted
  • Ask the funeral home for several certified copies of the death certificate
Notify and check with the deceased’s employer regarding:
  • Spousal death benefits, or children’s benefits
  • Retirement benefits due spouse
  • Outstanding vacation payments due
  • Will survivor have continuing medical/dental coverage?
  • Employer will need copy of death certificate
Life Insurance:
  • Notify insurance policy carrier to activate payment to beneficiaries or funeral home
  • Review beneficiaries on remaining policies for changes
  • They will need a certified copy of the death certificate
  • Check if a will or trust is in place in the deceased’s name:
  • An attorney’s office usually holds the master copy of the trust
  • The executor of the estate and attorney work together with the terms of the trust or will
  • They will need a certified copy of the death certificate
Notify Social Security Administration Office:
  • Activate survivor’s benefits
  • Cancel Medicare coverage for deceased, if applicable
  • Return benefits paid after death of deceased
Notify Veterans’ Benefits Office, if applicable:
  • Activate survivor’s benefits
  • They will need a certified copy of the death certificate
Notify automobile insurance company:
  • Remove deceased’s name from the policy
  • They will need a certified copy of the death certificate
Notify DMV:
  • This protects from someone using the deceased’s identity
  • They will need a copy of the death certificate
Notify homeowner’s insurance company:
  • Check is there is a rider on loan for full pay off in the event of death
  • They will need a copy of death certificate
If a renter, notify landlord and renter’s insurance company.
Notify credit unions and banks:
  • Notify institutions and remove deceased’s name from accounts & block usage of deceased’s debit card
  • Review checking account or debit card charges by deceased
  • Remove deceased’s name from safe deposit box
  • Review beneficiaries for changes
  • Consider having an alternate signature on file for all accounts, possibly an adult child or other family member, in the event something happens, the money is accessible
  • They will need a certified copy of the death certificate
Notify home loan company and any lending institutions:
  • Have deceased’s name removed from accounts
  • Check if accounts have a life insurance benefit that will pay the loan
  • Change the deed to house to survivor’s name and consider adding another family member’s name ( you may need assistance from an attorney)
Notify utility companies:
  • Have accounts put in survivor’s name
  • They may need a copy of the death certificate
  • List may include: Gas & Electric, Water, Cable, TV, Phone, Garbage collection
Outstanding personal, automobile, other loans:
  • Notify companies and remove deceased’s name from accounts
  • They will need a copy of death certificate
Notify credit card companies:
  • Have accounts put in survivor’s name & block usage of deceased’s credit card
  • Review charges by deceased
  • They may need a copy of the death certificate
Business owners:
  • If the deceased was a partner or owner of a business, contact your attorney to ensure proper handling of company assets and management
Cancel magazine subscriptions, book, music or video clubs.
Consider updating trust or will for the remaining estate:
  • This should be done as soon as possible to protect your assets
Losing a loved one is difficult and moving on often takes longer than you expect:
  • Your employer may offer Employee Assistance Programs that can provide counseling to help you deal with your loss
  • Talk to your doctor or hospice director about grief support groups