Losing a loved one
The last thing anyone wants to prepare for is the loss of a loved one. But there are important decisions to make, and planning ahead can help make this time a little less stressful.
Gather important financial documents
- Will and any statements of intent for executors, trustees and guardians
- Death certificate
- Insurance, bank, investment and retirement account statements
- Tax documents (state and local where applicable, as well as federal)
- Property deeds, contracts, leases and agreements
Notify institutions responsible for payments and assets
- Banks and trust companies
- Life insurance and annuity providers
- Stockbrokers and investment custodians
- Retirement plans, pension administrators and IRA trustees
- Social Security Administration, Railroad Retirement Board and Federal Employees Retirement System
- Department of Veterans Affairs
If the funeral was not preplanned, set a budget for it now
- Decide how much you want to spend, keeping in mind that you are making this decision on behalf of your loved one’s estate.
- Understand what other resources may be immediately available from death benefits, family and friends.
- Determine when and where the funeral and burial should take place.
Consider the executor
- If you can determine who the executor is, consult with him or her as soon as possible about settling debts (including funeral-related expenses) and addressing the legal and tax alternatives for settling the estate.
- If there is no will or you cannot determine who the executor might be, you should consult with an attorney about how your state’s laws might apply to your situation before taking any action.
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