Page 14 - Scene Magazine June 2022 4706
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Part of the work of making an inven- tory of assets is finding them all (personal property, bank accounts, house, car, brokerage account, personal property, furniture, jewelry, etc.). The task can be
a big job. For complex estates, this can take years, especially during the challeng- es of COVID. Comb your family member’s tax returns, mail, email, brokerage and bank accounts, deeds and titles to find assets. Don’t leave any safety deposit box or filing cabinet unopened. If you believe it is necessary, a search firm can help you track down assets at a cost.
Make a List of Bills and Cancel Services – Share the list with the exec- utor so that important expenses like the mortgage, taxes and utilities are taken care of while the estate is settled. If there are agencies that are responsible for paying part of the bills be sure they have the information needed. Also cancel any services no longer needed such as sub- scriptions, monthly donations, cable, and internet. Wait on utilities if you are working toward selling the house.
Cancel Driver’s License – This removes the deceased’s name from the records of the Department of Motor Vehi- cles and prevents identity theft. Contact the local DMV for specific instructions, but you’ll need a copy of the death certificate.
Close credit card accounts –
Contact customer service and tell the representative that you’re closing the account on behalf of a deceased relative. You’ll need to provide a copy of the death certificate to do this, too. Keep records
of accounts you close, and inform the executor of any outstanding balances on the cards. To prevent identity theft, send copies of the death certificate to the three major credit agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
Notify Financial Institutions – If your loved one left a list of accounts and online passwords, it will be much easier to close or change accounts. If the person didn’t, you’ll need a copy of the death certificate.
Notify Life Insurance Companies –
You’ll need a death certificate and policy numbers to make claims on any policies the deceased had.
Terminate Insurance Policies –
Contact providers to end coverage for the deceased on home, auto and health insurance policies, and ask that any unused premium be returned.
Financial advisers, stockbrokers, pensions – Determine the beneficiary listed on accounts. Depending on the type of asset, the beneficiary may get ac- cess to the account or benefit simply by filling out appropriate forms and providing a copy of the death certificate (no execu- tor needed). Be sure to call the company paying pension benefits. You may also do so through their employer.
Delete or Memorialize Social Media Accounts – You can delete Facebook or Instagram accounts, but some survivors choose to turn them into a memorial for their loved one instead.
A memorialized Facebook profile stays up with the word “Remembering” in front of the deceased’s name. Friends will be able to post on the timeline. Whether you choose to delete or memorialize, you’ll need to contact the company with copies of your ID as well as the death certificate.
so you can do this yourself. If not, you’ll need copies of the death certificate to cancel an email account. The specifics vary by company, but most require a death certificate and verification that you are kin or the executor.
Healing – Losing a loved one has
a significant impact. When talking with John Dowdle of Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Home & Cremation Care I asked what family members need the most. “Time,” was his answer. He went on to say, “Healing may not happen right away. Lean on family and friends.” If Hospice was involved near the end of life, consider reaching out regarding their bereavement services. For others, a grief support group may be what you need. Sometimes, meeting with a professional might be the best route.
When dealing with the loss of a child the grieving process is much different and the burden of loss may be with a family member for the rest of their lives. Accord- ing to John, “Find a way to celebrate their life. Don’t’ quit talking about them and celebrate special days. It may be the only way you’re going to heal.” Rather than struggle through, your health may benefit by reaching out for professional support.
No matter your choices, your local funeral home can help you through this most difficult time. Keep in mind, they have experienced loss too and will be ready with a listening and understanding ear.
Editor’s note: This article is a collec- tion of recommendations and should
not be considered as legal advice. It should however, help you to realize that the process of closing an estate can be made much easier when a loved one has intentionally spent time pre-planning and creating legal documents.
Close Email Accounts – Once
you have all the contact information
you need it’s a good idea to shut
down the deceased’s email account to prevent identity theft and fraud. If the person set up a funeral plan or a will, she may have included login information
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