What Should I Do After the Funeral?

Obtain Copies of the Death Certificate

Your Iowa Funeral Planning funeral director will file the necessary information for the death certificate, and as soon as it is signed by the deceased’s doctor and funeral director it will be available for you. A copy of the death certificate will be required for a number of legal and financial forms.

Send thank you notes for those who sent flowers and memorial contributions or showed a special kindness.

The funeral home can supply you with blank thank you cards. It is important to recognize the people who have helped support you through this difficult time.

Meet with the deceased’s attorney to discuss the necessary legal processes.

There are a handful of legal issues that must be addressed when a loved one passes away. First, you should locate the original Last Will and Testament to determine who the Executor is. The Executor will handle the administrative responsibilities of settling the estate, such as paying bills, disbursing assets, and paying taxes. The Executor may be the surviving spouse or someone else. If there is no Will, the probate court can appoint someone to administer the estate. An experienced attorney can help you with the probate process.

Even if the decedent and the surviving spouse held most or all of their property jointly, legal actions are required to finalize the estate. Iowa law requires that an original Last Will and Testament be filed with the Clerk of Court; even if there will be no probate of the estate. Title to jointly held property must be transferred to the survivor. This can only be done with a document that must be filed with the County Recorder. Further, assets such as investment accounts, and life insurance should be transferred to the named beneficiary.

Contact an experienced attorney to assist you with the probate process.

Notify insurance companies and file all claims.

If you are a beneficiary of the account, contact your personal financial advisor to decide the most beneficial way for you to receive the proceeds of the accounts. Each insurance company is different, but most will require a claim form and a copy of the death certificate.

Apply for the appropriate social security, veteran’s benefits and/or pension benefits.
Through the new electronic death certificate program, social security is automatically notified of the occurrence of the death. You may contact your local social security office to file a claim for the social security benefits. The current lump sum benefit is $225 and is paid to the surviving spouse or dependent children of the deceased.

Your Iowa Funeral Planning funeral director will assist you with the proper application for veteran’s benefits. Depending on the type of benefit you are seeking, proper documentation will be required. These forms may include, but are not limited to: a copy of the veteran’s discharge papers, marriage certificate, and other basic information. For more information, contact the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs at 800-827-1000 or visit their website.

Notify the deceased’s accountant or tax preparer, stockbroker, and bank.

Notify the deceased’s financial professional as soon as possible in order for them to obtain the “Date of Death Value.” This value is the amount of funds in the deceased’s accounts at the time of death. The financial adviser will then file a claim against the accounts. Most of these accounts will only require one certified copy of the death certificate, but some may require more. There is no rush in figuring out how you would like to allocate funds. It is most important that you talk with your own personal financial adviser to figure out what is best for you.

Notify the Department of Motor Vehicles to transfer titles on all vehicles, mobile homes, and boats registered in the deceased’s name.

Even if there is a cosigner on the title, a death certificate is needed to remove the deceased’s name from all titles. Some will require a certified copy, while others may only need a copy. Click here to find out what the state of Iowa requires for title transfers.

Notify the credit card companies of the death.

24 Hour Immediate Service

Our main goal at Iowa Funeral Planning is to provide our customers with assistance and options when it comes to planning a funeral. We know how overwhelming this process can be, and we are here to help get you through it. Our counselors are trained, compassionate professionals and will work with you, your wishes and your budget to plan funeral services to best fit your situation. All of our initial consultations are free of charge and completely confidential. There is no obligation to purchase anything when you use this site or contact us with questions. In the case of imminent death of a loved one, Iowa Funeral Planning offers 24 hour immediate assistance to help you make decisions regarding funeral arrangements as easy as possible. Call us today at 888.682.7002 for a free and confidential consultation with no obligation.

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