Funeral Planning Pt. 3 — After the Funeral
Funeral Planning – after the funeral may be the most stressful of all three phases. Yes, the funeral will be emotional. But what follows the funeral is a lot of leg work. And a lot of leg work means a lot of stress.
Death certificates will play a major role in the below list of activities you will face. Experts in the field say you should order a dozen certified duplicate death certificates. You should also be prepared to pay upwards to $20 a copy.
The government never misses a trick to make a few bucks. They are available through your local vital statistics office. Or the county clerk, local records office or city hall. The location depends on where you live.
Funeral planning –after the funeral should include the sending of thank you notes. A contact list was probably gathered at the funeral home. They usually have people sign a register.
Social Security should be a priority. If the deceased was receiving benefits they must stop. If you have a good funeral director he will notify Social Security. You can always call SS at 1-800-772-1213 or go by your local SS office.
Their rules could cost you more than the benefit amount if not reported timely. And, you may be eligible for a one-time $255 payment or other benefits. Don’t let that slip.
The List Gets Longer
If your loved one received Medicare, Social Security will inform the program of the death. That doesn’t hold true for the deceased’s Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage (Part D), Medicare Advantage plan or Medigap policy. You should contact these plans at the phone numbers provided on each plan membership card to cancel the insurance.
If the deceased was working employment benefits may be waiting for you. Contact the employer for information about pension plan, credit unions and union death benefits. You will need a death certificate for each claim.
Life insurance and health insurance are probably in the picture. Notify the health insurance company or the deceased’s employer. Some health plans allow for dependents to remain covered after the employee dies. Ask.
Life insurance companies will have you complete appropriate claim forms plus supply a death certificate. If you have a policy and the the deceased was listed as your beneficiary, arrange to have the name removed.
You may wish to terminate other insurance policies*.* If so, contact the providers.
Obligations Beside Insurance Matters
Depending on the size of the estate a meeting with a probate attorney may be on your agenda. The executor should choose the attorney. Probate can be a migraine if you don’t know what you are doing. Take the advice of counsel and save a lot of frustration.
Make certain the executor or estate administrator has a list of important bills. They still must be paid promptly.
The deceased may have dealt with financial advisers, stockbrokers, and others in the investment world. The important point to know is the beneficiary of the account.
Mortgage companies and banks should also be on the notification list. Hopefully your loved one left a list of accounts, including online passwords.
Always close credit card accounts even if there is a balance owed. You will have to pay the balance but nobody can hack that account.
This is important and many people don’t know about it. Notify credit reporting agencies. Doing so minimizes the chance of identity theft. Then wait about six weeks and check the deceased’s credit history. That will tell if any fraudulent accounts have been opened.
Tell the DMV so they can cancel the deceased’s driver’s license*. *This also helps prevent identity theft.
More accounts that should be closed to prevent fraud or identity theft are email and website accounts. Do not forget about social media and other online accounts.
Another important agency to contact is the election board or registrar of voters. This is one more step to prevent identity theft. As well as voter/election fraud.
You should cancel memberships in organizations. Sororities, fraternities, professional organizations, etc., to which the deceased belonged.
One Last Contact
Uncle Sam and your state income taxing agency will still want a return from the individual. Therefore, you’ll want to contact a competent tax preparer. Let him or her walk you through the process. The last thing you must do is get wrapped up with one or both of these agencies.
Funeral planning – after the funeral may be the most stressful of all three phases was my opening sentence. If you read this far, I’d bet a dollar to a donut you agree.
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