Sather Financial

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Sather Financial Group

120 E Constitution St
Victoria, TX 77901

(361) 570-1800


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Checklist to Use in the Event of Death

1. Telephone a friend or relative to spend the next few hours with you if you are alone.  Shock and trauma can take unexpected forms. 

2. Make an appointment with a funeral director to discuss funeral arrangements.  Ask for seven to ten copies of your spouse's death certificate, which you will need for your spouse's employer, life insurance companies, and legal procedures.

3. Locate the family's important papers.  Get as many as you can together, and continue the gathering process over the next weeks.

4. Be aware that certain jointly held assets, such as safe-deposit boxes and checking or savings accounts, may be frozen as soon as the bank or other institution involved become aware that on of the joint owners has died.  Thus, although such assets are intended to pass to the surviving spouse outside the normal probate process, actual possession of such assets may be delayed pending a court order releasing them.  Such an order may depend on satisfying inheritance or estate tax officials that the estate owns other assets adequate to pay any potential estate or inheritance tax.

5. Make an appointment with your tax advisor and attorney to review your spouse's will and to discuss any state and federal death taxes payable.

6. Notify your inheritance tax office and ask for the required forms.  In many states, you must have a release from this office before company benefits or insurance benefits can be paid.  (The office will be listed under your state listing in the phone book if you live in an urban area.  If you do not, your advisor can supply you with the proper address.)

7. Telephone your spouse's employee benefits office, and provide the following information:
● Your spouse's name
● Spouse's Social Security number
● Date of death
● Whether death was due to accident or illness
● Your name and address
The company can then begin to process any benefits payable immediately.

8. If your spouse was eligible for Medicare, notify Medicare, providing the same information as in #7 above.

9. Notify Social Security of the death.  Claims may be expedited if you go to the nearest Social Security office in person to sign a claim for survivor's benefits.  Look for the local address under the U.S. Government listing in the telephone book.  You may also use the 800 number provided there.  A $250 death benefit is paid.

10. If you need emergency cash before insurance claims are paid, a cash advance may be made from any life insurance benefits to which you are entitled.

11. If your spouse was in the service, notify Veterans Affairs.  You may be eligible for death or disability benefits.

12. In a small ledger, keep track of all money you spend.  These figures will be needed for tax returns.

13. Remember that you are in a highly emotional state.  Avoid contracting for anything, and avoid spending or lending large sums of money.

                         After a Few Weeks       

The paperwork will begin to diminish.  You can then take the opportunity to make any necessary changes in ownership registration for:
 ●   Auto registration
 ●   Stock, bonds, investments
 ●   Residence
 ●   Boat
 ●   Saving and checking accounts (You may wish to consider opening a joint account
       with another member of you family.)
 ●   Charge accounts
 ●   Safe-deposit box
You may need to make a new will or trust.