Handling the Financial Aspects of Death
The emotional trauma of dealing with a loved one’s death can be devastating. If you are also the one who has to handle the financial aspects, dealing with all the details can seem overwhelming.
Following is a checklist of items to consider:
- Your most immediate concern will be to notify family and friends of the death and make funeral arrangements. If you aren’t sure of the deceased’s burial wishes, look for a letter of instruction or a will that details preferences. You’ll probably need to contact a funeral home as well as your loved one’s religious organization. An obituary will need to be prepared, a burial site may need to be purchased, and death certificates must be obtained. Be sure to keep track of all payments for funeral and other expenses.
- If a surviving spouse and/or minor children are involved, evaluate their means of support and determine whether care for the dependents needs to be obtained. In terms of the loved one’s home, you may need to deal with security at the residence, provide for the care of pets, send mail to another location, and arrange for the care or disposal of perishable property, such as plants and food.
- Locate any safe deposit boxes and follow necessary procedures to have them opened.
- If the deceased was employed, contact his/her employer to start the process of collecting any outstanding pay, life insurance proceeds, or other benefits. If the deceased was retired, notify Social Security and any pension plans.
- Locate important documents, including wills, trusts, deeds, investment records, insurance policies, business and partnership arrangements, and other evidence of assets and liabilities.
- Meet with an attorney to discuss the deceased’s estate matters. Depending on the estate’s complexity, you may need to retain an attorney, accountant, and/or financial advisor. While you may be hesitant to spend the deceased’s funds on professional services, these professionals have experience dealing with the financial matters of estates and can help significantly with the process.
Losing a loved one is one of life’s most challenging events. Having a plan and understanding how to handle the financial aftermath can have significant value in the many years to follow.
Reesa Manning is Vice President and Senior Financial Advisor at Integrated Wealth Management. She has worked in partnership with Mark Hayek for 16 years specializing in retirement and income planning with expertise in creating lifetime income for their clients. For more information, call Reesa at (760)834.7200 or Reesa@IWMgmt.com.
The above is being provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered investment, tax or legal advice. The information is as of the date of this release, subject to change without notice and no reliance should be placed on such information when making any investment, tax or legal decisions. Integrated Wealth Management obtained the information provided herein from third party sources believed to be reliable, but it is not guaranteed. Form ADV contains important information about the advisory services, fees, business, and background and the experience of advisory personnel. This form is publicly available and may be viewed at http://www.adviserinfo.sec.gov
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