There are tasks that family members will need to take care of very soon after a relative’s death.
There are several financial matters that need to be taken care of when a relative dies. However, you may not need to take these steps immediately. You and your family will need time to grieve. Most financial advisors or investment professionals may recommend that you do not make any changes in or long-term decisions about finances for at least six months to a year after your loved one’s death. But there are some issues that have to be dealt with within legal time periods. Here are some of the initial steps that may need to be taken.
Determine how to arrange for any income you may be getting from the decedent’s retirement plan, union survivor, Social Security or veterans’ benefits or life insurance policies.
The probate process can be lengthy, sometimes stretching to two to three years or longer. In some instances, however, probate may be avoided completely, such as when an estate consists of trust assets. The executor should be able to anticipate how long the settlement of the estate will take.
There is no quick fix for the grief and stress experienced after the death of a loved one. Survivors are often counseled to put off making any extraordinary changes in their lives — such as moving, reinvesting assets or selling the family home — too soon after a loss. Making important decisions immediately could mean having regrets later. Instead, it may be best to take time to grieve and heal from one of life’s inevitable, but most traumatic, experiences.
After the funeral
Down the road
AARP1-888-687-2277 aarp.org AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to helping older Americans achieve lives of independence, dignity and purpose. AARP‘s website has online publications and links for funeral planning information.
Funeral Consumers Alliance1-802-865-8300 funerals.orgFCA is a consumer organization that provides information about alternatives for funeral or non-funeral dispositions. It encourages advanced planning and cost efficiency.
Selected Independent Funeral Homes1-800-323-4219 selectedfunderalhomes.org Selected Independent Funeral Homes is a national association of funeral firms. Membership is by invitation only and conditioned upon the commitment of each firm to comply with the association’s Code of Good Funeral Practice. Consumers may view a variety of publications in the site’s Smart Consumer Information section.
Federal Trade Commission1-202-326-2222 consumer.ftc.govThe FTC offers a consumer guide to funerals. Click the “Money & Credit” tab, then select “Shopping & Saving” from the menu on the left, then “Shopping for Funeral Services” under the Specific Products and Services section.
IRS1-800-829-1040 irs.govThe IRS offers tips to help reduce the risk of having a deceased person’s identity stolen. In the search bar, enter “ID Theft,” then select the article titled “Deceased Taxpayers – Protecting the Deceased’s Identity from ID Theft.”
1“Funeral Costs: How much does an average funeral cost?” Parting,com. September 13, 2021. 2irs.gov3SSA. gov.4 Va.gov.
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