topic | gather information, make notifications

Step 3: notify financial institutions and employer

Notify employers and financial institutions of the death. Notifications may be made over the phone, online, in person, or through the mail. Information regarding accounts, claim forms, cancelation of services, refunds, or liquidation of accounts should be gathered at this time. A certified copy of the death certificate and a copy of the executor's Letters of Administration are usually required to discuss details of accounts.

There is over $32 billion in unclaimed property because people don't know what they're missing, even after looking through the records of the deceased.

Activity 1
Identify Investment Accounts Owned Solely by the Deceased

Investments, Liquid Assets, and Other Assets may contain the names and contact information for investment companies. If not, use it as a guide to gather information. These may include:

  • money market accounts or certificates of deposit held in local banks or credit unions
  • 401K accounts, IRAs, annuities, savings bonds and mutual funds held by other institutions

Activity 2
Notify Financial Institutions

If possible, visit financial institutions in person. Account changes will require an original death certificate and Letters of Administration.

  • For accounts solely owned by the deceased, with no stated beneficiaries, the executor may request information as well as close the account. Transfer funds to the estate checking account.
  • If the account has a beneficiary, Payment on Death (POD) or Transfer on Death (TOD) as part of the ownership, the person named should decide on how to accept the liquidated assets. For assistance, consult a financial advisor.

Activity 3
Notify Each Life Insurance Company

Request that a claim form be sent to beneficiaries. It may be mailed directly to them. Upon completion of the claim, payment should take 2-3 weeks.

Insurance Policies and Life Insurance may contain the names and contact information for insurance companies. If not, use it as a guide.

Activity 4
Notify Current and Past Employers

Notify each employer of the death, and request:

  • the final paycheck, payment for unused sick/vacation time, or money held in a Health Care Reimbursement Account, be forwarded. Deposit all checks into the estate checking account.
  • any health, medical, or long-term care insurance held through the employer be canceled and premiums be refunded
  • information regarding company sponsored life insurance policies so that claims may be made
  • information on pension benefits

Employment Records may contain contact information for employers.

Activity 5
Inventory Savings Bonds

Savings bonds with a recorded beneficiary are not part of the estate. The beneficiary may cash the bond if they possess an original death certificate.

Savings bonds without a recorded beneficiary may be cashed or reissued in the names of beneficiaries if stated in the Will

(if this Step is complete)
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