By: Stephen M. Sutera
We often assist our clients in dealing with the stressful event of a death in the family. Too often, loved ones will want to complete too many tasks too quickly. The following represents a list of tasks which are necessary, including possible timelines.
- Contact family and friends.
- Locate copies of estate planning documents.
- Locate and review the person’s insurance policies.
- Contact a funeral director.
- If the deceased was a veteran, call your local Veterans Administration office.
Within the first three months:
- Meet with your attorney.
- File the will.
- Contact Social Security.
- Review the deceased person’s employer benefits.
- Cancel services that are no longer needed. Examples include cell phone plans, health club memberships, and subscriptions.
- Cancel credit cards.
In the following months:
- Change title to assets. You will need to examine the underlying documents.
- Deal with distributions to beneficiaries. Again, you need to examine the underlying documents.
- Settle the estate.
- Hire an accountant.
After the estate is settled:
- Update your own estate plan.
- Review beneficiary designations for your retirement accounts and life insurance policies.
- Review your own financial situation, such as your short and long-term cash needs.
- Review your situation regarding life insurance, medical insurance, and other types.
- Reassess your investment portfolio to account for additional assets or other changes.
© Stephen M. Sutera