Things That Must Be Done After the Funeral
Following the funeral, a variety of estate, financial and administrative matters must be addressed. The tasks you may need to do include:
- Sending acknowledgment 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.
- Changing all jointly held accounts including, bank accounts, brokerage accounts, stocks, bonds, and other investments. Be aware that, once the institution has been notified of the death, some accounts and lockboxes may not be accessible to you without the approval of the Probate Court.
- Change or re-establish mortgages, credit cards, and loans.
- Sending notifications of death to:
- Employers — to make them aware of the death and determine if any death benefits are available.
- Fraternal, social, civic, and religious organizations — to make them aware of the death so they can make the roster change and notify members.
- 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.
- Accountant/tax preparer — to provide the information they’ll need to file the tax returns.