When a parent passes, the loss of the loved one can be made more difficult with the weight of trying to organize his or her financial affairs. To help you through the death of a parent, we have a free download below that includes steps to take before, during and after the funeral. It’s called the Surviving Child Checklist and it is provided by our financial partner BALANCE.
The first section of the checklist lists important papers that you will likely need at the death of a parent. If your parents are still alive, now is the time to discuss where and how to locate these documents.
The first 6 things to do after the death of a parent
The Surviving Child Checklist also includes these first 6 things to do when your parents die:
- Contact the funeral home. They can help you get copies of the death certificate. You can also get copies at the county clerk’s office. Get at least 6 certified copies.
- If necessary, contact the utility companies to have the utilities shut off at your parent’s place of residence. If your parent has a surviving partner or spouse, make sure the utilities and other bills or accounts get transferred into that person’s name.
- Contact a local attorney specializing in estate issues. There may be a temptation to try to go it alone, but making mistakes could cost you a lot more than the deceased’s estate would have paid an attorney. You could even be fined if you improperly execute the distribution of assets. If possible, try to work with the attorney who drew up your parent’s will. If that attorney is not available, contact the state’s bar association for a referral.
- Make a special point to talk with the attorney about any secured debts your parent had and what options are available for handling those.
- While an attorney can guide you through most of the executor duties, it will make things easier for you if you make a commitment to communicating all pertinent information to anyone who is named in the will/trust. This helps to avoid confusion or hard feelings going forward.
- Contact the life insurance company that holds your parents policy to begin the processing of the claim. Also contact any insurance companies your parent had a policy with to notify them of the passing and see if any cash benefits are due to survivors.