When a loved one passes away

Author

Edward Jones - Chad Choate, AAMS

Posted on

Aug 11, 2021

Book/Edition

Florida - Sarasota, Bradenton & Charlotte Counties

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Losing a loved one is never easy. On top of the emotional distress, you may suddenly have to deal with financial issues you've never encountered. This guide can help walk you through some of the most important steps to take on behalf of your loved one's finances.

Order multiple copies of the death certificate.
Financial institutions and insurance companies will require certified death certificates before they release funds. The funeral home, mortuary or medical examiner's office can provide them for you. Depending on your state, the cost could range from $10 to $25 per death certificate.
File the will with the appropriate probate court, if needed.
Contact your loved ones estate-planning attorney to determine if you need to file the original will with the probate court and/or open a probate estate. The attorney should have copies of your loved ones most recent estate-planning documents and can assist you with the probate process. You may need to contact the financial institution that holds the mortgage for your loved ones real estate to ensure the mortgage and homeowners insurance are paid while the estate is being settled.
Notify your loved ones employer(s).
Be sure to collect any salary, vacation or sick pay owed. You also may want to look into continuing health insurance coverage and potential survivors benefits for a spouse or children. If the death was work-related, you may be able to file a claim for workers compensation benefits. You also should contact past employers about pension plans.
Contact your loved ones financial advisor.
A financial advisor can help determine what investments your loved one owned and help assess the value of those assets on the date of death. He or she also can help retitle assets in the name of a beneficiary or an heir.
Report the death to the Social Security Administration.
If your loved one received benefits, contact your local Social Security Administration office to find out whether any payments must be returned. Additionally, a surviving spouse may be eligible for a lump-sum death benefit and/or survivors benefit. To learn more, contact your Social Security Administration office or call 800-772-1213.
File any insurance claims.
Contact the insurance companies where your loved one owned policies and ask about their claims processes. You also should consult your legal or tax advisor to determine whether funds may be needed to pay final expenses or taxes. In the case of annuities, the beneficiary(ies) should consult with a legal and/or tax advisor to determine which payout option is appropriate.
Reduce the risk of identity theft.
Notify your loved ones financial institutions to retitle or distribute the accounts and cancel any online banking services. Cancel your loved ones passport, drivers license and any credit cards in his or her sole name. Review credit card statements monthly to ensure no unauthorized transactions have occurred and fees are reimbursed when appropriate. You also should report your loved ones death to all three credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. They can flag the accounts as deceased to create a permanent credit freeze. 
File a federal estate tax return.
You should consult with your legal or tax advisor to determine whether your loved one's estate is required to file a federal estate tax return. State laws vary, but you may need to file state estate tax and/or inheritance tax returns within nine months of the death. In addition, federal and state income taxes are due for the year of death on the normal filing date. If you need assistance, please consult a qualified tax professional.
Close your loved one's social media accounts.
Social media sites have different policies on closing the account of a loved one. In some cases, you may be able to turn your loved one's page into a memorial. Online platforms enforce their own rules on who can or can't access a deceased person's accounts. If you have questions about this, you may want to contact the customer service areas from platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to learn their policies.
Also consider other types of online accounts, such as financial (PayPal, bill-paying), virtual property (air miles, "points" for hotel bookings), business (eBay, Amazon, Etsy), email (Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo), online storage (Google Drive, iCloud, Dropbox) and applications (Netflix, Kindle, Apple).

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Local Services By This Author

Edward Jones - Chad Choate, AAMS

Financial Advisor 828 3rd Ave. W., Bradenton, Florida, 34205

Hello, I'm Chad Choate a dedicated financial advisor in Bradenton, FL, I began my career with Edward Jones in 2017. As a financial advisor, I want to find out what's important to you and help you build personalized strategies to achieve your goals. As a lifelong Manatee County resident, I graduated from the University of South Florida and was a teacher in Manatee County before joining Edward Jones. My driving force is to change people's lives in a positive way, and what better place than my home to do that. Whether you're planning for retirement, saving for college for children or grandchildren or just trying to protect the financial future of the ones you care for the most, we can work together to develop specific strategies to help you achieve your goals. We will also monitor your progress to help make sure you stay on track or determine if any adjustments need to be made. Throughout it all, we're dedicated to providing you with top-notch client service. But we're not alone. Thousands of people and advanced technology support from our office can help ensure you receive the most current and comprehensive guidance. In addition, we welcome the opportunity to work with your attorney, accountant and other trusted professionals to deliver a comprehensive strategy that leverages everyone's expertise. Working together, we can help you develop a complete, tailored strategy to help you achieve your financial goals. I currently volunteer with the Manatee Hurricane football Broadcast and Booster Club, serve on my church's trustees council and have previously served as a leader in Young Life. I am a member of the Manatee Chamber of Commerce and an alumnus of their Leadership Manatee program. I have been married to my childhood sweetheart, Ashley, for 15 years and we have a son, Wesley, and daughter, Camryn. We enjoy watching our children play their sports and traveling as a family.