Settling the Affairs of a Loved One, and Safeguarding the Estate
The days following the death of a loved one may seem overwhelming. We can help you complete the tasks that are necessary to protecting and settling the estate.
The many details include conclusion of government benefit payments. Monthly Social Security benefits are paid in the month following the month for which they are due; for example, you would receive your July benefit in August. If a beneficiary dies in July, benefits are not payable for July, the month of death. You would keep the check received in July, since it is payment for June. The check received in August (which is payment for July) must be returned. If direct deposit is used, also notify the financial institution of the death as soon as possible so it can return any payments received after death.
If the decedent was receiving Aid and Attendance or other Veteran's benefits, the next of kin or Personal Representative of the Estate should call 1-877-838-2778 and request that the VA payments be stopped. Like Social Security, the VA also pays one month in arrears; the check received in July is for the month of June. Therefore, the estate of a single veteran with no dependents who passes in July will keep the check received in July. However, the August check (for July) must be returned. If the veteran was married or leaves a dependent child, the check for the entire month of death can be kept. The next of kin or Personal Representative of the Veteran’s Estate should apply for burial benefits of $300.00 for plot and $300.00 for burial, using form 21-530. These benefits can reimburse you if you have already paid for the burial or the plot.
Here is a checklist of steps that can be taken as soon as possible:
|Notify family and friends|
|Arrange for Memorial Service|
|Publish an Obituary|
|Arrange for organ donation if decedent has directed|
|Take Care of Decedent's Pets|
|Arrange for Security at Decedent's Residence|
|Contact Decedent's Insurance Agent, and Arrange for Continuation of Fire, Theft, and Liability Insurance on Decedent's Residence and other Properties|
|Cancel or Rearrange Home Delivery of Services, Newspapers, and Mail|
|Arrange for care or disposal of perishables like food and plants|
Next, begin the process of gathering the estate assets by downloading our Estate Assets Checklist and Certification Form. We can advise you on the best ways to protect yourself and the estate, and maximize the value of assets that are distributed to your family members. If you are the Personal Representative for the estate, it is your duty to choose the most cost effective Attorney. By selecting an experienced Attorney who understands the legal process and techniques for saving time and money, you can insure that:
- Estate Settlement runs smoothly and efficiently
- Attorney fees and costs are predictable and contained
- Time-consuming disputes among family members or heirs are prevented
- Estate property is distributed promptly and efficiently
We do not charge attorney fees based on a percentage of the estate. Our clients receive a service plan that covers the necessary tasks. The estate pays only for the time that is actually needed to complete each task. We can settle the Estate, and obtain the Court Decree that closes the Estate, with the best results for you and your family. To get the process started, print out the Estate Assets Checklist and Certification Form, and call to schedule an educational meeting. Learn how we safeguard and settle the estate: (413) 567-5600