- Contact a funeral director. Following the death of a loved one, families usually rely upon a funeral director for guidance. A director can help make arrangements for funeral services and burials. He or she also can provide multiple certified copies of the death certificate (you'll need them for credit card companies, mortgage lenders, etc.).
- Locate important papers. Aside from any insurance policies, remember to think about safe-deposit boxes, business agreements, bankbooks, and securities certificates; real estate deeds; wills; recent copies of income tax return forms, W-2 forms and other records of earning; Social Security number; marriage and birth certificates; military discharge papers, Veterans Administration claim number; automobile registration; and installment payment books.
- Call the deceased's lawyer to help with the will, if there is one. When a loved one dies, you should seek legal advice on such matters as re-recording property deeds and the disposition of stocks, bonds, and savings. Also, the disbursement of the insured's business and estate assets, and the drawing up of a will for the widow or widower, will require immediate attention.
- Contact your tax attorney and financial advisor for help with taxes. You may need to pay estate taxes, gift taxes, as well as income taxes for the previous year of the deceased's life. You have nine months after the decedent's death to pay federal estate taxes, if the gross estate exceeds $1 million in 2003 or $1.5 million in 2004.
- Visit a trust officer. An important resource for survivors, a trust officer is an expert financial advisor who deals in investments, estate settlements, and household finances.
- Notify the post office of the death. Also, go through the deceased's mail and cancel subscriptions, phone and utility services, advises MsMoney.com.
- Gather unpaid bills. Many installment loans, service contracts, and credit card accounts are covered by credit life insurance, which pays off the account balance in the event of the death of a customer. If the bills are not covered, consult your financial advisor about whether to pay them, as the debt may lower the total taxable estate.
- Make changes to, or cancel, ownership registrations, advises CNNMoney. These registrations include cars, securities, real estate, bank accounts, credit cards, banking accounts, safe-deposit box, and homeowner, health and/or life insurance policies.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Theme Day - Steps after Death
According to the New York Life website these are the steps that one should take after a loved one dies: