How to Handle Estate, Financial and Administrative Matters
Following the funeral a variety of estate, financial, and administrative matters must be addressed. Maintaining organized personal records will be most helpful to the people responsible for these tasks following your death.
The tasks that may need to be done include:
- Sending acknowledgement notes expressing gratitude for flowers, donations and special assistance.
- Commencing estate proceedings. Whether an extensive Probate proceeding is necessary is determined by the size of the estate and the existence of a will and living trusts. An Executor, named in the will or appointed by the Probate Court will shepherd the estate through this process. Also, it may be necessary to hire an estate planning attorney to provide legal guidance.
- Accounting for all assets and debts of the deceased. Make arrangements to pay outstanding bills. It may be necessary to have the Probate Court release short-term funds to cover these bills.
- Filing death benefit claims with insurance companies, Social Security, the Veterans Administration, pension/retirement funds, unions, etc. Certified copies of the death certificate are usually required in making these claims. See Funeral Guide > Claiming Death Benefits for more information on death certificates and claiming benefits.
- Changing all jointly held accounts including, bank accounts, credit cards, mortgages, loans, brokerage accounts, stocks, bonds and other investments.
Sending notifications of death to:
- Fraternal, social, and religious organizations.
- State and local agencies, such as the Department of Motor Vehicles, to transfer all licenses and titles.
- Telephone, utility, newspaper and any other services that are registered in the deceased's name.