Star One Credit Union
Planning Ahead
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After a Death

Losing a loved one is extremely difficult. Managing the demands placed on the responsible survivor while grieving can be overwhelming. The following list of reminders may offer assistance during a difficult time:

  • Social Security: Contact your local office and set up an appointment to learn more about benefits to which you may be entitled. If the decedent was receiving Social Security benefits, you must advise Social Security of the death as soon as possible.
    Note: Social Security pays benefits in advance. As a result, recently paid benefits may be revoked.
  • Retirement Benefits: Contact previous employers if your family member was receiving a pension or other retirement benefits. In addition, surviving spouses or partners may be eligible for retirement benefits based on the decedent's years of service with an organization, even though the decedent was not receiving retirement benefits prior to their death. Surviving spouses or partners should inquire about their eligibility.
  • Ask the previous employer about Employee Assistance Programs and whether or not you are a beneficiary of any life insurance policies or retirement plans.
  • Ask your personal insurance agent about any life insurance policies.
  • Verify ownership of accounts and notify financial institutions of the death.
    Note: The financial institution may require that a new account be opened in order to change the ownership of the account.
  • Destroy credit and/or debit cards and cancel lines of credit held in the name of the deceased. Inquire about loans that may have had credit life insurance and be sure a claim is filed.
  • If an account is an Individual Ownership: Ensure funds are secure, request that direct deposits and automatic debits be canceled.
  • To establish an estate account, provide copies of the SS4 form (Application for Employer Identification Number) and court appointed Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration.
  • Determine if property held individually requires probate or if it can be distributed another way.
  • Contact any clubs or organizations that your family member may have been involved with, such as armed forces, church or place of worship, professional clubs, etc.
  • Consult an attorney and/or tax advisor for assistance and counsel.
  • Request multiple copies of the death certificate. It's a good idea to order a minimum of ten.
Note: The planning tips and guidelines on these pages are not intended as legal advice, nor to be construed as legal advice. For any legal or tax issues related to your personal situation, you should consult a qualified legal professional or tax advisor.

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