Wednesday, October 19, 2011

When a loved one dies...

And when I die, and when I'm gone
There'll be, one child born, in this world
To carry on.
- lyrics from "And When I Die" by Laura Nyro, sung by Blood, Sweat & Tears

When a loved one dies, there's many lose ends that need to be resolved. Most of them are not fun but they are necessary. The Consumerist recommends the following step to Close Up Loved One's Accounts After They Pass Away

1. Immediately request a credit report for the deceased. This will tell you about most accounts and credit cards.

2. Get many "Letters of Testamentary", a court document showing that you are the executor of the estate. [The deceased did leave a will naming an executor, right?]

3. Get a death certificate for every utility and every financial account and then get at least a dozen more. With my mother-in-law, one bank asked for 3 death certs because different departments did not share or they were too lazy to search their files.

4. File a request to close every account as soon as possible.

5. File an obituary with a newspaper that also publishes online. This can help "prove" someone is really dead. Just point them to the URL of the obituary.

6. If the deceased have voice mail through their phone company, politely ask that the message be changed. Some find it disturbing to hear the voice of the recently departed.

7. Debts live on after death. But debts to NOT get inherited by the children. All debt is paid out of the estate. This does not mean the kids can take the money and leave nothing for debts, the debtors will sue and win; debt payment comes first and what remains of the estate (if anything) can then be distributed.

8. If the estate has sizable assets, get a lawyer. Lawyers are also useful if debtors or other companies give you a difficult time closing accounts.

Bottom Line

9. Keep calm. The paperwork will be tedious and sometimes maddening. Keep your humor.

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