Losing someone you love is never easy. As you grieve their loss and celebrate their memory, the last thing you want to consider is: what do I do next? Is there anything I am forgetting?
One of our top priorities at Evans & Davis is to eliminate those burdens and stressors from our clients’ plates by providing helpful resources. We want to share a few pieces of advice for actions you should take when you lose someone you love:
- Ensure there are caretakers for any minor children, dependents, and pets. Your loved one may have set forth the guardians of their minor children in their Last Will and Testament.
- Determine if the deceased had a funeral plan in place. You may need to meet with the funeral home to make arrangements for your loved one. You may also contact Veterans Affairs to determine if there are burial benefits.
- Locate important documents such as: birth certificate, marriage license, Social Security card, military papers, burial plot information, will, trust, and life insurance policies.
- Order at least 10-15 death certificates. Often, more will be needed than expected. The pandemic has caused delays in production, so it is best to order more at the outset. If you are working with a funeral home, they will likely assist with ordering the death certificates.
- Change any utilities or other bills from your loved one’s personal name into either your name, another family member’s name, or any other person that might take responsibility for continuing payment until the property is sold.
- Notify the credit card companies and Equifax of your loved one’s passing. Unfortunately, we have seen an increase in decedent’s identities being stolen after their death. Notifying these companies will diminish that risk and save you from the stress of handling a horrible, messy situation.
- Notify the Social Security Administration of your loved one’s death. There may be funds to be collected for a surviving spouse or minor child.
- File a request with the United States Post Office to redirect your loved one’s mail.
- Secure the deceased’s home. You may want to change the locks and ensure that any device not needed is turned off.
- Contact your loved one’s estate planning attorney and financial team. Evans & Davis immediately steps in to assist our clients with the probate or trust administration process. If your loved one dies with or without a will in place, their estate will have to go through probate court. If a trust is in place, we will determine which assets are titled in the name of the trust and if any assets remain titled in their personal name. We will assist with collecting life insurance death benefits, selling properties, notifying beneficiaries, and distributing the assets to the beneficiaries as designated in the trust. Evans & Davis will also update your personal estate planning documents (i.e. wills, trusts, financial and healthcare powers of attorney, and advance directives) that might be affected by the loss of your loved one.
All of our team at Evans & Davis is here to serve as a resource to help you navigate through this difficult time. We know how overwhelming it can be to experience losing a spouse, parent, sibling, friend, or any other special person in your life. Our hope is that being equipped with this information can provide a sense of direction and comfort should you have a loss of your own.