Losing a loved one is life’s greatest difficulty. Few know how to navigate the process of making arrangements, filing paperwork and all of the other things that need to be taken care of. We bring you a guide to help navigate the process. Note that much of the work can be planned well in advance, as part of any normal estate planning activity.
Family and friends. Ask family members for help with notifying other relatives, friends and business associates.
Religious contacts. Speak with your loved one’s place of worship about conducting the funeral service.
Employer. If your loved one was employed, contact the human resources department and inquire about final paychecks, sick time and benefits.
Organized member groups. Contact organizations your loved one was a member of, such as alumni associations and professional or social groups.
Here are ten common tasks that need to be completed after notifying all necessary parties.
Social Security. The funeral home will generally assist a surviving spouse or, in some cases, a child in applying for Social Security’s $255 death benefit. Social Security also needs notification to discontinue any benefits the deceased may have been receiving. Visit www.socialsecurity.gov for more information.
Veteran’s Administration. If your loved one was a veteran, visit www.va.gov/opa/persona to learn about burial and memorial benefits.
Life Insurance. You’ll need to determine whether your loved one owned any insurance policies. Contact the agent or the home office of the insurance company to file a claim. One method to determine if any policies may exist is to check bank records for any life insurance premiums paid in the last year or so.
A well-known and important rule to follow is to postpone any major decisions until at least a year has passed since your loved one’s death. After a year, you’ll have a clearer state of mind when making important choices about your life, your residence and your finances.