Manage important tasks when a loved one passes away
Early days and weeks following a loss
Wellness and support
- Maintaining your own wellness during a period of significant loss is an important part of successfully moving through this difficult period.
- Reaching out to family and friends for support can be helpful, along with professional resources when needed.
- Check with both your own employer as well as the deceased's to find out about any support programs they may provide. If either your or the deceased’s employer have coverage with MetLife, you may have access to services such as grief counseling.
- Find more information about bereavement here.
- If you or a loved one are having thoughts of suicide or self-harm you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or find out more about the services and support they can offer you at their website.
If funeral preplanning or final wishes were considered, there may be documents located with the deceased's important papers or on their computer that can assist you in making final arrangements.
As planning a funeral isn't a process most people have to complete frequently, it can be overwhelming. Reviewing available consumer information can help with confident decision making:
Manage immediate funeral and loved ones’ needs
Reaching out to family and friends to help provide support can be critical as elderly parents, children and/or pets may need care and temporary accommodations while any immediate planning needs are being addressed.
Check with your or the deceased’s employer for any support programs and resources they may offer. If either your or the deceased’s employer have coverage with MetLife, you may have access to services such as funeral assistance and discounts.
Locate will/trust documents
In the days that follow the funeral, matters turn to settling the deceased’s estate. Begin by going through records and any written guidance the deceased may have provided prior to their passing. If a will and/or trust is not found in the deceased's important papers at home, check any safe deposit boxes or with their attorney or financial advisor.
If you are the executor of the estate, check with either your employer or the employer of the deceased about estate resolution services that may be made available to you.
Obtain certified copies of the death certificate
If you are working with a funeral home, they can assist you in obtaining certified copies of the death certificate. Alternatively, you can request them from the county/state where the death took place or through a third-party vendor. You will most likely need 10 to 12 certified copies of the death certificate. Original certified death certificates may be required by multiple third parties, including banks, credit agencies, social media account providers, mortgage lenders, and insurance companies.
File life Insurance claims
Here are some ways to check if the deceased had life insurance:
- Check with the deceased's prior employer(s)
- Look through your loved one’s bank statements to see if premium payments were being made to insurance companies
- Contact your state’s department of insurance
Talk to insurance carriers about any additional services that may be available to you such as grief counseling
Check with the deceased's employer as well as your own to find out about any other support services that may help you through the grieving process and the financial and legal aspects of settling the estate. If either your or the deceased’s employer have coverage with MetLife, you may have access to services such as funeral assistance and discounts.
Contact insurance carriers for auto and home coverage to advise them of the policyholder’s passing
If the deceased was living alone, and no one is staying in their home, the homeowner’s insurance carrier should be notified that the house is vacant and the name on the policy adjusted as appropriate.
What comes next
Notify SSA / Veterans Affairs
Contact the Social Security Administration, IRS and, if applicable, Veteran's Affairs, to review eligibility for survivor benefits and other important information for surviving family members:
- Social Security Administration – Survivor Benefits
- How Social Security Can Help You When a Family Member Dies
- IRS: Deceased Taxpayers – Protecting the Deceased’s Identity from ID Theft
- U.S Department of Veterans Affairs - VA benefits for spouses, dependents, survivors, and family caregivers
- VA Survivors Pension
Notify credit bureaus and financial institutions
Help prevent identity theft.
Notify at least one of the three nationwide credit bureaus to report the death and obtain a copy of the deceased's credit report as needed for estate settlement purposes. Whichever credit bureau receives the notification will inform the other two. You can use this form to help with this notification.
- Experian: Reporting Death of a Relative
- Transunion: Reporting the Death of a Loved One to Transunion
- Equifax: After a relative’s death, do I need to contact each nationwide credit bureau?
In addition, you can use this template to report the death to other financial institutions.
Close credit card accounts
Notify credit card issuers of the deceased's passing as soon as possible to avoid possible fees and additional interest being charged to accounts.
Cancel household services
Identify any automated services such as grocery and pet supply delivery, housekeeping and lawn care services, recreational or personal memberships and subscriptions and check websites for cancelation procedures.
You can have the deceased’s name added to the Direct Marketing Association’s Do Not Contact List to avoid receiving ongoing marketing materials addressed to the deceased.
If the deceased’s pets are not able to be adopted by family or friends, and if there was no pet preplanning completed, you may contact local rescue resources to assist with rehoming. Here are some resources to help with considerations.
Close or memorialize social media accounts
Check social media sites for procedures to either close or memorialize accounts:
Close email accounts
Email providers can assist with options available to close accounts and obtain data from them, if needed.
Review other digital footprint items such as online storage and accounts to either download content and/or close accounts
It is important to close the deceased's digital footprint; failure to close accounts can leave doors open to identity theft. Especially important are financial services accounts such as PayPal and Venmo that may be linked to bank accounts and credit cards.
Check credit card and bank statements for subscriptions, membership fees and third party services that may be automatically charged on a regular basis.
Every situation is unique and there may be additional steps needed for your particular circumstance. There may be other individuals or institutions you need to contact such as landlords, foreign pension providers, etc. You may wish to consult with your own financial, tax or legal advisors.
Your own needs
Planning for your future needs and those of your loved ones
Your financial wellness is an important part of your wellbeing and there may be changes that result from the loss you've experienced. MyMoney.gov provides financial education from the Department of Treasury and may assist you on your journey forward.
If the life insurance company providing you with a benefit payment offers the option of payment through an interest-bearing settlement account, this option can provide a secure place for the proceeds to stay and gather interest. This allows you to take the time you need to decide how to use the funds without the worry of making financial decisions while grieving for a loved one. It can also provide a flexible payment tool as it functions similarly to a money market or checking account.
If you receive a benefit payment from MetLife, the MetLife Life Settlement Account1 offers new accountholders access to Visa debit cards and accounts can be linked to popular payment services such as PayPal and Venmo. MetLife accounts do not include monthly maintenance or service fees and no charges for making withdrawals, writing drafts, reordering drafts, or debit cards.
Review other personal business concerns for needed updates
Your financial life will most likely require review and updates after the death of a spouse, parent or other member of your household. You can download the Beneficiary Task List which contains to-dos for not only the deceased’s estate, but for your own family and financial wellness considerations. These include review of retirement accounts, beneficiary changes, etc.
Speak to family members or a financial planner to ensure you have the right amount of financial protection in place for you.