After losing a loved one, your world falls out from underneath you. It is hard enough to face the thought of a life without that special person in it, but to still have to face legal and fiscal ramifications at the same time can leave you feeling like you’re drowning.
If you have a relative who has recently lost a loved one, like a sister who has lost her husband, or a grandma who has lost the rock that was your grandpa, there are ways that you can support them in their time of need.
They will probably have friends and other relatives who can help with their funeral arrangements, but you can focus on assisting them with the legal processes that have to happen after someone passes.
1. Bank Accounts
In most places, bank accounts are automatically frozen after the account holder dies. What you should do is draw out the daily limit for your relative first, that way they will have some money whilst the rest of the processes are completed.
Then notify the bank and find out what the procedure is for releasing the funds into a new account for your relative.
After the death of a loved one, there will be a period when everything is a mess. Power of attorney is no longer valid, bank accounts are frozen, and death certificates will need issuing.
The deed to their home needs to be found and dusted off – that way you can continue the rest of the processes and ensure that your loved one continues to have a roof over their head.
When you can, you need to look for their loved ones’ will – if one exists. Check with their attorney or accountant if there isn’t a copy of one filed away in an obvious place. The best way to deal with this situation is to consult their attorney first; they will know what to do next.
Wills and estates are a complicated matter. You need to consult an experienced professional or a team of experienced professionals.
The only things that are certain in life are death and taxes – Benjamin Franklin said that, and he wasn’t wrong. The only problem here is that taxes don’t necessarily end after death.
Debts and taxes become the responsibility of the estate and not the beneficiaries, even when there are insufficient assets to service all of those debts. Keep this in mind, just in case your loved one feels obligated to pay them.
5. Insurance Claims
Following the funeral, the death certificate will become available. Generally, the funeral home will assist with obtaining one, so have a word with them when the funeral arrangements are getting made to confirm.
Once you have the death certificate, you can start the process of claiming from any insurance policies that were in place at the time of the death.
Helping a loved one during difficult times is admirable, but it should also just be part of your duties as a relative. Family needs to stick together, especially during difficult times. Your loved ones will need to lean on you during their time of need, and it is your job to hold them up while they can’t.