Within first 24 hours
- Determine whether any of decedent’s property needs to be safeguarded, such as a motor vehicle, vacant house, etc.
- Ensure that proper funeral arrangements have been made.
Within two weeks
- Locate the decedent’s letter of instruction, if any.
- Locate the original Will and read it.
- Locate important records such a titles, deeds and life insurance policies.
- Make appointment with an attorney to discuss estate.
- Notify life insurance company(ies) of the death and request claim(s) forms.
- If mortgage insurance on home exists, notify insurance company of death.
- Determine if any bills must be paid immediately.
- Contact creditors who are demanding immediate payment and notify creditors of death.
- Notify credit card companies of death.
- Cancel credit cards on which decedent was the only signor.
- Obtain bill for last illness from hospital (if any).
- Order at least five (5) death certificates from the funeral home.
- Contact Post Office to make any necessary changes in delivery of mail.
Within one month
- Notify Social Security of the death, and any other organization paying on retirement or paying an annuity upon death.
- Gather together and organize financial documents:
- Bank accounts owned by decedent.
- Mutual funds owned by decedent.
- Brokerage accounts owned by decedent.
- Certificates of Deposit in decedent’s name.
- Stock Certificates registered in decedent’s name.
- Any promissory notes under which decedent was entitled to receive payment.
- Titles to Motor Vehicles and/or Mobile Homes that are listed in decedent’s name.
- Deeds to real property owned by decedent.Any appraisals of jewelry or other valuable personal property owned by decedent.
- Gain access to and inventory any safe deposit box.
- Obtain the account balance on mortgages, loans, checking and savings accounts as of the date of death.
- Bring original Will, financial documents, balances, death certificates, and inventory of safe deposit box to meeting with attorney.
- Notify CPA, accountant or bookkeeper of the death.
Within two to six months
- If automobiles are held in joint tenancy, change motor vehicle titles to reflect single ownership by surviving joint tenant.
- If stocks or bonds are held in joint tenancy, contact stockbroker to change records to reflect ownership only by the surviving joint tenant.
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