What to Do When Loved Ones Die

  1. Review Decedent’s records or safe deposit box to locate estate planning document, i.e. Will or Trust. If an estate is needed, the Personal Representative named in the Will/Trust will handle the probate administration.
  2. Notify Social Security of the death. If you are a spouse, or if you have minor children, check for possible death benefits available.
  3. If the Decedent was a member of the Military, notify Social Security of the death and check for possible death benefits.
  4. Order certified copies of Death Certificates which will be used to transfer or request information from financial institutions or others who may be holding assets or benefits payable to the estate, i.e. insurance policies, vehicles, retirement accounts, etc. Check with the funeral home to see if they will order death certificates for you.
  5. Notify all insurance companies and pension/retirement companies to report the death claim and request the claim forms paperwork.
  6. Contact Attorney, accountant, and the financial planner.
  7. Notify banks and other institutions where the Decedent had loans, mortgages, and checking and savings and/or retirement accounts.
  8. Change vehicle titles or other recreational vehicles titles and registrations by contacting the Department of Motor Vehicle locations.
  9. Have all mail forwarded to you or to the Personal Representative handling the estate.
  10. Notify the Decedent’s employer and all former employers to determine if there are pension benefits.
  11. Confirm, collect, and pay all creditors known and notify creditors of the Decedent’s death.
  12. Begin gathering and inventorying all account information, including financial statements, original insurance policies, real estate records, digital property/passwords, etc., to determine whether a probate administration is necessary.
  13. If the Decedent’s assets total more than $75,000 in his/her name alone, or if the Decedent owned any real property solely in his/her name of any value, you will need to check with a probate attorney or have the nominated Personal Representative contact the probate attorney.