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Our Thoughts on the Passing of a Loved One in 2020

Information For a Time of Confusion

  • If you are alone, telephone a friend who can spend the next few hours with you. Shock and trauma take unexpected forms, and it is best to surround yourself with those you trust.
  • Notify a funeral director and clergy, and make an appointment to discuss funeral arrangements. Request several copies of the decedent’s death certificate, which you’ll need for his or her employer, life insurance companies, financial institutions, and decedent’s CPA/attorney for estate tax returns and possible legal procedures.
  • Contact by phone and notify the immediate family, close friends, business colleagues and employer.
  • Arrange for care for members of the immediate family, including appropriate childcare, or having people at the decedent’s house, etc.
  • Locate the decedent’s important papers. Gather as many of the decedent’s papers as possible, and continue to do so for the next few weeks.
    • Copies of tax returns for last three (3) years
    • Stocks and Bonds held in person and/or statements from all brokerage accounts and other financial institutions, Variable Annuities having death benefit riders.
    • Real Estate Deeds
    • Mortgages, Deeds of Trust and other Notes
    • Cash accounts (checking and savings)
    • Inventory safe deposit box
    • Insurance policies
    • Jointly owned property or joint accounts
    • Other miscellaneous property
    • Transfers during decedent’s life (taxable gifts; e.g., over $15,000)
    • Powers of appointment
    • Fixed Annuities
  • Notify the decedent’s CPA and our firm. Decisions may need to be made regarding repositioning financial assets and tax planning. The CPA and our firm may also be able to assist you with several of the items below.
  • Telephone decedent’s employee benefits office with the following information: name, Social Security number, date of death (or incapacity); whether the death (or incapacity) was due to accident or illness; and your name and address. The company can begin to process benefits immediately.
  • If decedent was eligible for Medicaid, notify the local program office and provide the same information as in number 8.
  • Notify life, accident or disability insurers of decedent’s death or disability. Give the same information as in number 8, and ask what further information is needed to begin processing your claim. Ask which payment option decedent had elected, and select another option if you would so prefer. If there is no payment option, you will be paid in a lump sum.
  • Notify your Social Security office of the death. Claims may be expedited if you go in person to the nearest office to sign a claim for survivor’s benefits. Look for the address under U.S. Government in the phone book.
  • If you need emergency cash before insurance claims are paid, a cash advance may be available from life insurance benefits to which you are entitled.
  • If decedent was ever in the military service, notify the Veterans’ Administration. You may be eligible for death or disability benefits.
  • Record in a small ledger all money you or the immediate family spends. These figures may be needed for tax returns.
  • Remember that you are in a highly emotional state. Avoid entering contracts for anything, and avoid spending or lending large sums of money.

If you need assistance in handling the decedent’s affairs, notify The Galano Group LLC firstly. Our initial consultation is always complimentary and will refer you, depending on where you reside, to the right individuals. However, it is very important to schedule an appointment as soon as you can, as an estate tax return may be due within nine (9) months of death. Contact us to receive immediate assistance.