Financial Steps To Take After The Loss Of a Spouse or Parent

Legally Links is available to help surviving spouses and children. Please do not hesitate to reach out to

On all steps listed below, Legally Links has trained staff that can help you.

Find the will (if there is one) and speak to an attorney about what to do with it.

If the deceased has left a will, an attorney will need submit the document to probate court to ensure the assets listed are legally transferred to the right party, including yourself.  

See if you may be eligible for Social Security Survivor Benefits

Generally, the surviving spouse (over 60) and minor children(under 18) may be eligible for social security benefits, even if the deceased died at a younger age. Click here for a complete guide on how to apply for Social Security Survivors Benefits.

Check the mail for all bills and statements

This is important so you understand what accounts and subscriptions the deceased had and what accounts you want to close to ensure there is no identify theft. You can also receive a free credit report from Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion to understand what open accounts the deceased had.

Contact employer about benefits and retirement plans

There may be retirement plans or insurance plans sponsored by the employer which may be available to the next of kin.

Review health insurance continuation with deceased’s employer.

Federal law can require a surviving spouse or child to receive continuing health insurance coverage from the employer in some instances

Notify banks, brokerages, and other financial institutions

If you are a joint owner of any financial accounts, you have an automatic right of survivorship, which gives the surviving person ownership of the account.

If the bank accounts are only in the deceased’s name, speak to an attorney before touching the account to review how the account can get legally transferred to you.

Contact credit card companies

Notify all relevant credit card companies to ensure the account does not incur any new charges or bills. This step will also ensure that, when needed, the account is closed to avoid identity theft. 

Some card may have death benefits that you may want to ask about.

Contact insurance companies

Speak to your insurance companies to see if there are any life, home, auto, and personal property insurance policies. You also want to ensure you are making other insurance payments so coverage is not discontinued.

Contact the mortgage company

Call the mortgage company to learn more if there are any specific programs for death of the mortgagee which may help with making future payments

Notify the 3 credit bureaus

Contact one of the 3 credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion to notify them of the death. Notifying one of the companies will communicate to all 3 credit bureaus that no credit should be issued in the name of the deceased.

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