Estate Planning

Checklist: When a Loved One Passes Away

Checklist: When a Loved One Passes Away

Estate Planning, Financial Planning

When a spouse or loved one passes away, there are several things to do. First and foremost, it is important to grieve and allow yourself time to heal. Below is a checklist of some items to consider when a spouse or loved one has passed away. If the deceased had a trust, please also view our blog regarding Duties of a Successor Trustee.

  • Order Death Certificates. Depending on your specific situation, the quantity of original death certificates needed may vary. Typically, investment custodians and banks will accept electronic copies.
  • Review the will and/or trust. Contact the attorney’s office to obtain a copy of the will and any codicils. Also, obtain a copy of the trust. After reviewing, work with the estate planning attorney to identify next steps.
  • Notify Social Security. Notify Social Security as soon as possible. To report a death, call (800) 772-1213 and speak to a Social Security representative. You can also visit your local social security office. If you are a surviving spouse, you may qualify for additional monthly benefits. A one-time lump-sum death payment of $255 may also be paid to the surviving spouse.
  • Notify Pension Administrators. If the decedent was receiving pension or annuity payments, notify the administrator as soon as possible. Payments may stop or be adjusted for survivor benefits.
  • Notify the post office of a change of address, if applicable. Additionally, cancel any unnecessary subscriptions such as newspapers, magazines, etc.
  • Notify Life Insurance. Each life insurance policy will require a copy of the death certificate and some additional information before paying out the death benefit.
  • Review Financial Accounts. Joint accounts should be re-titled into the surviving spouse’s name. Trustee designations on trust accounts will also require updating. In reviewing your financial accounts and making changes to the title or ownership, it is helpful to work directly with your financial advisor.
  • Basis Step Up. If a surviving spouse owned property titled as community property or in trust with the decedent, the property will receive a step-up in basis to the date of death. Joint property can be eligible for a basis step up for the decedent’s one-half. Contact your tax or financial planning team to determine the steps required to get this done. To receive a basis step up, certain assets, such as artwork, collectibles, houses, etc., will require an appraisal.
  • Bills and credit cards. Notify the company of the decedent’s passing. Collect all credit cards and bills. Pay final bills, destroy credit cards, and close accounts.

With so many tasks to complete, it is important to surround yourself with trusted advisors. To assist you with the items listed above, we suggest you consult with the estate planning attorney, CPA, and financial advisor.

Important Disclosure Information: The information contained within this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations. Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by Schultz Financial Group Incorporated), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Schultz Financial Group Incorporated. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing. Schultz Financial Group Incorporated is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the blog content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. A copy of the Schultz Financial Group Incorporated’s current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available for review upon request. Please Note: Schultz Financial Group Incorporated does not make any representations or warranties as to the accuracy, timeliness, suitability, completeness, or relevance of any information prepared by any unaffiliated third party, whether linked to Schultz Financial Group Incorporated’s web site or incorporated herein, and takes no responsibility therefore. All such information is provided solely for convenience purposes only and all users thereof should be guided accordingly.

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