After the funeral service, mourning families are still faced with some very practical responsibilities. There are a number of legal and financial matters that must be handled. Depending upon how much estate planning your loved one did, handling this can be a challenge.
For example, it is necessary to inform a number of people and entities about a loved one’s death in order to cancel needed services. For people who lived alone in their own home or apartment, this is particularly essential. However, even if they lived with a spouse or partner, someone will likely need to submit cancellations or remove their names from accounts.
Here’s a list of services and other items you’ll want to look at after a loved one’s death. By cancelling services that are no longer needed as soon as possible, you can save unnecessary costs and headaches later on.
- Mail: If no one is living at the deceased person’s home any longer, it’s essential to complete a change of address form with the post office as soon as possible. This will help you deal with any continuing bills until appropriate cancellations or changes can be made. It will also prevent mail from piling up outside the home and attracting unwanted attention. You will need to prove that you are the appointed executor and are authorized to receive the person’s mail. While doing this, you can also remove their name from direct marketing lists.
- Insurance Policies: You will need to terminate your loved one’s health insurance coverage. If a spouse, children, or others family members were on the policy, you’ll need to ensure that their coverage continues until other arrangements can be made. The same is true for auto insurance policies. With homeowner’s, condominium, or renter’s policies, it’s best to notify the insurance agent and keep in touch with them as you determine what will be done with the home.
- Bank Accounts and Credit Cards: Bank accounts will be largely dealt with through the estate and trust. However, if your loved one had automatic payments set up to come out of a checking account, you’ll want to determine if these payments are still needed. You should also cancel any credit cards soon as possible to avoid identity theft. Make sure that you’ve located all of your loved one’s cards to further ensure that they aren’t stolen or misused.
- Automatic Refills and Reorders: Many people have automatic refills and reorders for products such as prescriptions, magazines, or subscription boxes . If you aren’t sure about these, you’ll likely need to browse through your loved one’s e-mail account.
- Memberships: Things like gym and club memberships don’t need to be an immediate consideration, but should be taken care of in a timely manner.
- Utilities and Other Services: You will need to look at any electricity, water, gas, trash/recycling, Internet, and cable services. You’ll want to determine if they need to be cancelled or just have the name changed on the account. If you’re going to be spending some time in the home cleaning it out and preparing it for sale, be careful what services you cancel. You’ll likely want to maintain power, water, trash pick-up, Internet, landscaping and pool maintenance. It’s also a good idea to find out exactly which service providers have house keys and alarm codes.
- Newspaper/Magazine Subscriptions: You’ll want to cancel newspaper subscriptions right away so that they don’t start piling up. Don’t forget online subscriptions.
- Email and Social Media Accounts: Many email and social media providers have protocols for handling accounts once someone passes away. Those that do allow for an executor to take control of a deceased user’s account require proof of death and verification of your credentials in relation to the user.
Note: Be prepared by having 10 to 15 copies of the death certificate on hand. Our staff can help you request copies.