Final Arrangements and Checklist
The death of a spouse, parent, child or other close relative is an extremely difficult time, and you're asked to make important financial decisions. This checklist highlights important steps to take in the year following the death of a loved one.
•Provide information for the death certificate and newspaper obituary.
•Look for your loved one's letter of instructions indicating funeral wishes, contacts and the location of
•Locate a copy of your loved one's will or living trust.
The First Month
•Contact an attorney who specializes in probate to explain your loved one's will, file it with the probate court and outline tax implications.
•Contact your loved one's employer and all former employers for potential group life insurance, pension and other benefits.
•Change your medical, dental and other benefits, if appropriate.
•Contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) for possible survivor benefits.
•If you are the spouse of the deceased, open a checking account in your name if you do not already have one.
•Contact life and health insurance companies for possible benefits.
•Review your taxes with an attorney or a certified public accountant.
•Discuss transferring assets into your name or a trust account.
After the First Month
•Establish a budget.
•Establish an emergency fund.
•Change the billing name to your own name on joint credit cards.
•Re-title jointly owned real estate or other property.
•Change vehicle titles to your name, if jointly owned.
•Seek advice from an attorney on updating your estate plan and revising trusts.
•Review old checkbooks, tax returns, bank statements and canceled checks for clues to additional
assets, benefits or obligations.
After the Third Month
•See a tax attorney or CPA about your federal, state and local income tax returns, including any estate tax returns that must be filed.
•Prepare and file all necessary tax returns.
•Review next year's personal income tax situation.
•Consider giving a gift in your loved one's memory to charity. Charitable gifts help leave a legacy and may provide tax savings. Contact Rotary's Planned Giving team at (847) 866-3100 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
After the Sixth Month
•Develop a plan for your financial future.
•Review your assets and liabilities, and consider changes such as making new investments and moving.
•Don't be pressured by investment salespeople into buying financial products you're not comfortable with. Seek guidance from loved ones and trusted advisors when making important financial decisions.
After the First Year
•Decide where you want to live.
Source: The USAA Educational Foundation