The death of a spouse, parent, or loved one is a very difficult time. Important financial decisions must be made during this period of grief and emotional readjustments. This brief checklist was developed to give you an overview of many details which must be attended to, whether or not any prior arrangements were made. For questions, additional information, or professional assistance please feel free to call us at (619) 588-2828.
COLLECT ALL THE PAPERS
Locate the will and/or trust.
Order copies of the death certificate.
Locate all insurance policies and annuities.
Locate all certificates, titles, deeds, monthly financial statements, and papers to decedent’s property.
Create a complete list of real estate and personal property of the deceased.
Locate the last two years income tax returns.
Check safe deposit boxes.*
Request Military Service Record, DD Form 214.
Locate and create an accurate record of bills, expenses, and debts that need to be paid.
Keep an accurate record of all payments made on behalf of the deceased.
Make sure insurance policies are kept up to date.
REVIEW THE WILL AND/OR TRUST
Carefully read the will and/or trust. Arrange for an appointment with an attorney to review the will and/or trust to determine if a probate or trust administration is needed.
Determine if all assets are in the trust.
Retain or meet with an attorney regarding estate matters.
Notify Social Security, Medi-Cal, Medicare, Insurance Agencies, Veteran’s Administration, and other agencies as appropriate.
Determine value of each asset on the date of death.
Get written evaluations of real property.
Review the ownership of all financial accounts.
Arrange for final income tax returns. Determine if federal estate taxes and state estate taxes will need to be filed.
Retain or meet with your accountant or CPA regarding taxes and accounting matters.
Arrange for care of dependents or pets.
Have the Post Office hold mail.
Cancel or rearrange home deliveries.
Prepare and arrange obituary.
Find perishable property (food, plants, etc.), arrange for care or disposal.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONAL PAPERWORK
Certain agencies may ask you for additional paperwork to prove relations or to verify information. It is beneficial to collect the following:
Social Security numbers of the deceased, spouse, and dependent children.
Copies of marriage certificates and prenuptial agreements.
Copies of birth certificates for dependent children.
* A Safe Deposit Box can only be accessed by someone other than the deceased under guidelines set out in the Probate Code. Surviving co-owners access the box with caution. DO NOT open the safe deposit box if the will or trust might be challenged. Consult an attorney for more details.
Note: The above is general information and you should consult with an attorney to answer your personal questions. Please feel free to call us to set up an appointment (619) 588-2828.