What to Do When Your Spouse Dies

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January 4, 2023 •  The Estate & Elder Law Center of Southside Virginia, PLLC
There are many questions that come up regarding what to do when your spouse dies! Kiplinger’s recent article entitled “A Checklist for What to Do (and NOT Do) After Someone Dies” provides some worthwhile information to help you if you are faced with a death in the family and must organize the next steps.

There are many questions that come up regarding what to do when your spouse dies! Kiplinger’s recent article entitled “A Checklist for What to Do (and NOT Do) After Someone Dies” provides some worthwhile information to help you if you are faced with a death in the family and must organize the next steps.

Contact the funeral home. You need to make arrangements and ask them for 10 additional copies of the death certificate.

Call your attorney. They could prove to be vital, especially if your spouse died without a will! If you are in a second marriage and your deceased spouse had children for a prior marriage, the estate could prove complex, and the surviving spouse needs protection!

Contact Social Security. Your Social Security benefits may change after a spouse’s passing, so you will need to notify them.

Cancel their health insurance. If insurance is provided by the spouse’s former employer, you will need to contact them.

Contact the spouse’s pension company (if applicable). Depending on the pension plan option originally selected by your spouse, you may be eligible to get payments.

Contact the life insurance company and file a claim. This is a quite effortless process. Do this right away to receive the proceeds of the policy.

If your spouse one was a veteran, contact the Department of Veterans Affairs. Check with the VA (Veteran s Administration) to see if there are any benefits payable to you.

Notify all your financial institutions. Contact banks to change account names; credit cards to remove spouse or close accounts; mortgage companies, insurance companies and all other important bills to change them to the surviving spouse’s name only.

Contact your CPA. You will need to discuss taxes for this year.

Contact your financial adviser. You will need to change account titles, file beneficiary paperwork for IRAs, 401k(s) and other retirement accounts.

Retitle assets. Assets like real estate or cars in the spouse’s name should be retitled.

Prepare and probate the estate. If the estate does not qualify for simplified procedures, then the assets must go through probate. Ask an experienced estate attorney to help you. Surviving spouses have rights under the law that must be acted upon in a timely manner. We have the experience to help! Schedule a consultation and we can discuss your planning options! If you or a loved one are concerned about issues with situations like this in estate planning and elder law concerns including Asset Protection/Medicaid Planning and questions regarding long-term care and the nursing home, reach out to us!  Book a call with us on our website: www.VAElderLaw.com to get started. We have offices in BassettDanville and Lynchburg to serve you.

Reference: Kiplinger (Aug. 24, 2022) “A Checklist for What to Do (and NOT Do) After Someone Dies”

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