Losing someone you love is one of the most emotionally challenging experiences a person can have. Even if the person was older, such as an elderly parent or grandparent, the event can still come as a shock.
Even so, there are always necessary steps to take to ensure that your loved one’s financial situation does not bring additional complications into the picture. It may not make your grief any easier to bear but taking the following steps can help you and your family eliminate unnecessary stresses.
Obtain Copies of a Death Certificate
To gain access to the accounts and records that the rest of the items on this list require, you will need to obtain several copies of legal documentation of your loved one’s death. You can usually get a death certificate from the funeral home or a medical examiner, which you should aim to do as soon as possible after your loved one has passed.
If you have access to them at this stage, you may also need to get copies of their birth certificate, marriage certificate, Social Security card, and tax returns.
Find Out if Your Loved One Had an Estate Plan
If you are in the position of getting a loved one’s financial situation in order, you will find it is much easier if they had already prepared an estate plan. This should include a will that spells out their wishes regarding how their assets should be distributed. They should also have provided the disposition of their remains, which will guide you as to what kind of funeral they wanted.
If your loved one has died without these documents in order, you should speak to an estate planning lawyer as soon as possible so that they can assist you with the complexities that are likely to arise as a result.
Handle Life Insurance Matters
If your loved one took out a life insurance policy, the insurance company should mail a check to the beneficiary upon receipt of a death certificate. However, insurance companies have a reputation for being difficult to deal with, so having an estate planning lawyer on your side can be invaluable if the process becomes stressful.
Speak with the Necessary Government Organizations
If your loved one was receiving benefits from the Social Security Administration, you must inform them of the death as soon as you can. Similarly, if your parent was a veteran, you should contact the Veteran’s Administration as soon as possible.
Contact an Experienced Estate Planning Lawyer
Feeling the grief of your loved one’s passing can be challenging enough on its own. Each of the above steps comes with the potential for additional challenges that can be even more overwhelming. Having an experienced estate planning attorney on your side can help make things go much more smoothly at this difficult time. Your estate planning lawyer will help clarify processes that seem confusing, deal with frustrating insurance representatives, and maintain respect for the emotional challenges you are going through, as well.
Please know that our lawyers are here to guide you through all of your options. If you need assistance, contact us to schedule a consultation.
This article is a service of Stafford Law Firm. We do not just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love.