A death in the family can be an emotional draining experience and here are some helpful information (phone calls) to ensure you make smart and efficient decisions when planning your loved one's final arrangements.
1. Call the insurance company.
This process is often a task that is over-looked, so gather any and all life insurance policies that your loved one may have so that you can have proper information when you inform the company of your loved one's passing. You can either call the insurance company direct or you can call your local agent for him/her to file the claim for you. There are several documents that the beneficiary (ies) that need to be submitted in order to complete the claim. These forms may include a claimant statement and/or assignment. A death certificate is usually required to send along with the other documents to finalize the claim. *Please read all your documents carefully as there are several different requirements for each insurance company. Often there are several payment options that you may choose from such as a lump sum (one check) or you can have the insurance company open an -interest-bearing checking account for you.(Please consult your own accountant for all tax information regarding these options)!
2. Call Social Security and other organizations.
Notify Social Security at the time of the death. If your loved one was covered under SSA, then the spouse or other dependents may be eligible for benefits. Please contact a funeral counselor as well; they may be able to provide the proof of death for your local office. (Ask about Form SSA-721). There are also several Veteran Benefits available! (Please see our section "What every Veteran Should Know" Section for more information on V.A. Burial Benefits).
3. Call your loved one's employer(s).
Often your loved one had benefits through his/her employer that the spouse or dependents may be eligible to receive. Also ask the human resource department if the employer provided life insurance benefits. If your loved one opted to take the life insurance policy, ask the employer who the beneficiary is and what the process is for filing a claim. There are several different ways to file a claim, and each employer and insurance company have their own rules and regulations. Typically the same documentation is needed to process a claim as an individual insurance policy. Also ask if these policies are assignable (able to be used to pay for funeral costs).
Another note is some additional paperwork may be needed to complete your entire loved one's final arrangements; gather important papers, such as deeds, tax returns, bank statements, earnings statements, military discharge papers (DD-214), Social Security card, and bills. You may also want to inquire if the deceased was part of any other organizations or affiliations as they might have individual benefits or policies that may assist the funeral costs. Remember ask plenty of questions and do not hesitate to research any information given to you!!