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How to get a loved one's finances in order after they pass away

Aside from the sadness and the stress from dealing with the loss of your loved one, there can be frustrations when trying to sort out their financial situation. Here are five things you should do to get your loved one’s finances in order.


  • Obtain multiple copies of the death certificate

Many institutions will not even discuss the financial situation of your loved one without documentation of death. Certified copies are ideal and accessible at your local city clerk’s office. Ask for ten copies at least, it seems like a significant number but you will need more copies than you think

  • Collect and secure necessary documents

Having copies of the following paperwork will make the process slightly easier: a will or trust, credit card statements, tax returns, marriage and birth certificates, bank statements, insurance policies and investment accounts.

  • Notify financial institutions, government agencies and other pertinent organizations

Speaking with the social security office can help you find out if you qualify for survivor benefits. After notifying the office of your loved one’s death, this can help to prevent identity theft and the collection of the deceased’s social security payments. Don’t forget to contact the post office to have your loved one’s mail forwarded to your home address.

  • Consult a lawyer

If you are acting as the executor of the will there could be legal consequences for not explicitly following the terms within the will.

  • Pay final bills

Property and income taxes are the most commonly overlooked bills when making financial arrangements. Utilities, final credit card statements and many other bills are often able to be paid online.

Going through this process can be wearisome, if you feel overwhelmed seek out professional support, not only for the financial aspect but the emotional turmoil that can develop along the way.

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