Organizations to Notify After A Loved One's Death

By: Matthew Funeral Home
Monday, November 30, 2020

When a family member passes away, there can be a number of things that need to be done; in addition to grieving and dealing with your immense loss. One aspect of this is notifying certain organizations and agencies, such as government programs and banks. This can be a stressful process, so this article can hopefully serve as a checklist of what agencies need to be addressed. 

Employers

If the deceased was employed, you will need to notify their place of work. This is important to find out about any death benefits, retirement funds, or life insurance that you and your family may be entitled to. The HR firm of their company should be able to provide you with the information needed to collect these funds. You will need the death certificate when you call those organizations for collection.

Banks

Banks may differ on their policies regarding the closing of accounts after the death of a loved one, but most will want the death certificate or at least a copy. However, bank accounts should not be closed immediately after a death, as some bills or debts may be linked to that account. These should be switched to another account. For spouses with joint accounts, a death certificate is required to remove the deceased’s name. 

Social Security Administration

The SSA will be notified of your loved one’s death electronically when the death certificate is processed. If your loved one received checks in the mail from the Social Security Administration, the mail may need to be returned. If the funds are directly deposited, the SSA will withdraw the funds electronically. Keep bank accounts open for at least 45 days to make sure that the funds are returned. After SSA is electronically informed of a person’s death, news of their death is passed on to Medicaid and Medicare automatically.

Credit Agencies

Credit reporting agencies can place a lock on someone’s report file once they pass. An agency can find out about someone’s passing in one of two ways. Either by the executor of the Will or by the SSA. Either way, it is still important to contact at least one credit reporting agency to ensure that the lock is placed on their file. This will prevent efforts of credit approval in your loved one’s name; which halts identity theft. To report a death, you will need the decedent’s legal name, Social Security number, and a copy of the death certificate.

Pensions and Retirement Funds

If your loved one was receiving a pension, or if they had a retirement fund, you can contact them to alert them of their death. You will need their Social Security number, ID number, date of birth, and death. Some funds will require the death certificate. If you are a spouse and are eligible to receive continued benefits; they will be able to arrange your survivor benefits.

Insurance Companies

Insurance companies where the deceased had active policies will need to be notified of their passing. This can include, but is not limited to, auto, life, health, homeowners, renters, disability, pet, and business insurance. You will usually need a copy of the death certificate and their policy number. Any further steps will be specific to the insurance company. The executor of your loved one’s estate may need a probate form for this step. 

Loan Companies

Loan and credit card companies should be notified when the person paying for a loan passes away. Copies of the death certificate may be needed before reaching out to these companies. The Credit Card Act of 2009, mandates credit card companies to respond to requests for final bills in a timely manner and forbids them from imposing late fees or finance charges during the administration process. Loans should be paid out of the decedent’s estate. As next of kin, you should consult with an attorney if their estate does not fully cover the remainder of the loan; and what your responsibilities are. 

Utilities

If you are the spouse of the deceased or lived in their house, you will need to call utility companies, such as gas, cable, and electric; so that you can change the accounts over to your name. Most of the time, you will need the death certificate, as well as proof of residence in order to change the account over or to close the account. If they lived alone and owned the home, it is best not to have gas and electricity turned off right away. You may need them to maintain the dwelling through probate. Once the Will is probated, and the residence is sold or rented, you can cancel utilities.

Taxes

Survivors will need to gather up the deceased’s paperwork when it comes time to file taxes and make sure returns are filed. Talk to your accountant or tax preparer ahead of tax season for more information about what is needed. Depending on when a person dies, you may have to wait almost a year before filing their final tax return.

Department of Motor Vehicles

Contact your local DMV for procedures after a person dies. Usually, they will ask that you surrender the deceased’s license, along with a copy of the death certificate. This can vary from state to state. 

Board of Elections

The state Board of Elections should be contacted, to remove the deceased’s name from the rolls of eligible voters. This can help prevent voter fraud. If your local county is still sending the deceased voter mail, you may need to contact the County Board of Elections as well.

Subscriptions

Newspapers, magazines, streaming services, gyms, clubs, and other subscription services should be contacted. Most of these services will continue to charge accounts automatically and will continue doing so until told to stop. Most of these can be canceled with ease. You may need to monitor the decedent’s accounts for automatic withdrawals to find out what subscriptions and memberships they have. Call immediately to cancel before the account gets charged again. If you want to continue these services, you should change the name on the account and the credit card being charged.

For almost 50 years, Matthew Funeral Home has been serving the Staten Island community. We can help with almost every aspect of your loved one’s memorial service. Our family is here to serve yours, every step of the way.

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