Getting Access to Assets and Benefits After a Death

Posted on

Oct 25, 2023

Book/Edition

Pennsylvania - South Central PA

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Oftentimes, the death of a loved one is the hardest thing that any of us will endure.  Not only did we lose the individual physically and emotionally, but in certain instances the financial impact can also be great. 

We are often asked in our firm what needs to occur after death, and we have provided other blogs and articles specific to that situation.  This blog generically gives direction on how you can get access to the benefits and assets of your loved one.  

Jointly owned assets:  

These are the easiest assets to gain access to because the spouse or child is already a joint owner and simply needs to notify the financial institution or company that they are the surviving spouse or joint owner.  You may need to provide a death certificate to take the deceased loved one’s name off of the account.  Also, be sure to check the taxpayer identification number associated with the account, which may need to be changed to that of the surviving joint owner. 

Assets that name a beneficiary:

These are also fairly straightforward assets for a beneficiary to be able to obtain because they merely need to contact the company if they were named as a beneficiary on an account such as life insurance, an annuity, or other product that has a beneficiary listed.  These also include accounts that have individuals named as an in-trust-for-beneficiary, a transfer-on-death beneficiary, or a payable-on-death beneficiary.  They are all fancy terms, but ultimately if the beneficiary is named, they will be able to fill out some paperwork and will receive those assets fairly promptly with not a lot of problems or delays.  

Veterans benefits:

If the individual who passed away was a veteran, there may be additional monies and funds that may be payable to the spouse.  In some cases, benefits can even transfer to children.  The benefits themselves are not difficult to receive, but the Veterans Administration has very particular and specific requirements that must be met for eligibility.  An experienced attorney can assist with and provide guidance in this area.  

Social Security benefits:  

Social security benefits, including death and monthly survivor benefits, can also be claimed after the death of a loved one and will go to a surviving spouse or potentially to dependent children.  The benefits themselves are not difficult to obtain, but it is essential that you meet the strict eligibility requirements.  Survivor benefits must be immediately requested because they are not retroactive if they are claimed after a certain amount of time.  The Social Security death benefit is only payable to a spouse and not to children. 

These are simple steps that you can take to be able to receive assets and benefits that are available to you upon the death of a loved one.  If none of these above apply because the asset was in the individual's name alone without a beneficiary, it will be essential for you to seek the advice of a qualified attorney who will be able to help you through the probate process.  

We hope that this blog has assisted in understanding different benefits and how a spouse can obtain them easily.  If you have any further questions or would like to get additional information, please reach out to our office at 717-220-8312 or check us out on the web at www.bellomoassociates.com.  

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