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Financial and Legal Steps to Take After Someone Dies

Financial and Legal Steps to Take After Someone Dies

Dealing with someone’s death can be intense and overwhelming.

It is an emotional, and often traumatizing, period for loved ones. The grief can be complicated by the fact that there are legal matters to be looked into and paperwork that needs to be completed.

It is helpful, therefore, to familiarize yourself with the specifics beforehand so you’re not at a loss for what to do when the situation arises.

Documents to Look For

Legal Documents

i.If the death had been expected, the deceased might themselves have left some instructions about what needs to be done after their death. These are called the Letter of Instruction or Final Instructions.

ii.If the deceased had been receiving medical treatment or was hospitalized, there may be an Advance Directive notice or a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care.

iii.The deceased may have signed up for organ donation. Look for their Organ Donation Card or Documents before making arrangements for the funeral.

iv. Locate their Will(Last Will or Living Will) or Trust.

v. Their property documents including Real Estate Property Deeds and Mortgage documents.

Personal Information and Identification Details

i. Driver’s License: If the deceased was an adult

ii. The Passport usually provides photo identification

iii. Social Security Card/ Number: These will also be useful later when you need to contact the Social Security Administration for any death benefits and survivors’ benefits

iv. Citizenship documents: Usually needed if they were an immigrant

v. Contact details of family, friends, lawyers, doctors, etc.

vi. Passwords to access computers, cell phones, etc.

vii. Vehicle Registrations

viii. Military service records: You may later need to notify the Veterans’ Affairs to ask for any relevant benefits. The military will also arrange for a funeral with honors where applicable.

Financial Documents

i. Details of their Bank Accounts: current, savings, online accounts, credit card, debit card, etc.

ii. Bank Statements: financial statements and records,salary statements, income statements

iii. Details of any Investment Accounts

iv. Stocks and bonds

v. Annuities

vi. Details and locations of any Safety Deposit Boxes

vii. Employment details if any: employer/retirement benefit plans

viii. Veterans’ Benefit plans if applicable

ix. IRS income tax returns

x. Business Contracts for any personal or family-owned business

Insurance Policies

Life insurance
Accidental life insurance
Veterans’ insurance
Employers or pension insurance
Credit card insurance
Health insurance
Property insurance
Workers’ compensation insurance


There may be unpaid bills that need taking care of and you might also have to cancel a few subscriptions. The common ones to identify are:

Utility bills
Long term debts
Rental payments
Credit card bills
Insurance bills
Property tax bills

Documents You Need to Produce

i. Death Certificate: This can be arranged by funeral homes or the health department.

ii.Employer Identification Number (EIN)

To make funeral arrangements in Miami or Coral Gables, visit National Funeral Homes.

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