Responsibilities after someone dies: A checklist for your reference

Feb 2020

Losing a loved one is never easy. The last thing anyone ever wants to think about is the paperwork and necessary to do list. At times it can be challenging to even try to process anything else while grieving. Funeral arrangements are of course a priority, but there are also a handful of other necessary tasks, some of greater urgency than others. To make it easier, we compiled a check list for your reference:

Things to do after someone dies:

  • Contact Social Security
  • Obtain death certificate from funeral home/county
  • Contact attorney to understand if you will need probate and/or estate administration support
  • Contact life insurance company to file claim
  • Cancel other insurance, including health care and supplemental insurance
  • Obtain/pay deceased’s bills
  • Contact deceased’s employer to alert them of death and inquire about 401(k), pension or company benefits the surviving spouse may be entitled to

Locate important documents and information: There are many documents that need to be located after someone dies so loved ones can handle the financial affairs of the deceased. Some of these documents include:

  • Will/Trust: Attorney will need to reference to identify if there are trustees or personal representatives
  • Copy of last tax return: The year someone dies, a tax return must be filed for them. Referencing the prior years’ return will be helpful. Tax returns also provide a road map for where assets and investments are located
  • Marriage License: Important if claiming spousal benefits, like Social Security
  • Life Insurance Policies: To claim any life insurance benefits
  • Bank and Investment Account Statements: Needed to determine the owner or who the beneficiaries are on those accounts
  • Mortgage, credit card statements, other obligations: To ensure that surviving spouse or family members know necessary bill payments
  • Credit Card Statements: Will be needed to cancel the cards and pay any balances
  • Find deceased’s log-in information and passwords for online accounts: Email is especially useful for identifying auto bill and auto debit payments

While all these items may not apply to every situation, having a checklist to follow after someone passes can make it much easier on the surviving spouse and grieving family.



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