There are many other tasks you will need to do. Some will involve checking and applying for any death or survivor benefits to help you out financially, closing out your loved one’s affairs, notifying agencies about their death, and even checking for any evidence of identity theft.
The executor of their will may be the only one authorized to carry out some of these steps. A copy of your loved one’s death certificate will be needed for many of them. Those tasks that require a death certificate are identified to give you an idea of how many copies you may need.
Contact Medical Insurance and Healthcare Providers
If your loved one received Medicare, Social Security will inform the program of the death. If they had been enrolled in Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage (Part D), Medicare Advantage plan or had a Medigap policy, contact these plans at the phone numbers provided on the plan membership card(s) to cancel the insurance.
Contact healthcare providers to cancel any medical, therapy, or dental visits that are scheduled or happen on a regular basis. This includes pharmacies or other sources of prescription drugs, visiting nurses, home health aides and social workers, and providers of durable health equipment.
Stop any home care services that your loved one may have been receiving, such as meal delivery, home care by a visiting nurse, physical therapist, social worker, or aid and other services.
Stop Any Utilities
If the residence will no longer be lived in, make sure that all of the utilities are shut off. This will require some additional steps if this happens during the winter to prevent damage from frozen pipes.
If you are keeping a shared phone service, consider removing your loved one’s voice from outgoing messaging or answering machines.
Notify Credit Reporting Agencies
Once you have canceled their credit cards, it is good to keep track for a while to be sure online predators have not gotten a hold of the information and purchased anything with it.
- Provide copies of the death certificate to Equifax, Experian and TransUnion in order to access any information about your loved one. These organizations will help minimize the chances of identity theft.
- It’s a good idea to check your loved one’s credit history in another month or two to confirm that no new accounts have been opened in their name.
Cancel Your Loved One’s Driver’s License
Once their license is canceled, the information is no longer available to use for identity theft.
- Go online or call your state’s DMV for instructions.
- Have a copy of the death certificate ready.
Not only are periodicals no longer needed, their accumulation in the driveway is a sign that your loved one’s residence is unoccupied.
- Look around the house for any newspapers, magazines, etc, to cancel.
- Check online for bills or notifications, and any e-subscriptions they may have.
- Check within the publication or online for steps to take to cancel them.
Cancel Any Other Deliveries
Look at printed or online messages to see if there are any deliveries coming, such as from Amazon. The same is true for any routine deliveries, such as pet food or prescriptions. Packages accumulating outside the residence can be an announcement that it is unoccupied.
Look at Online Accounts
Your loved one’s email and other online accounts contain a wealth of information about many important things, such as bills, accounts, subscriptions, memberships, and personal correspondence. Keep them open for a while, until you are sure you have all the relevant information.
See The Digital World section for details on managing and closing online accounts.
Reach out to professional organizations your loved one belonged to inform them and find out how to change their membership status. Consider sending notifications to other organizations your loved one is associated with, such as universities, societies, fraternities or sororities, etc. to inform them and to stop any notifications and journals they are sending.
Greek fraternal organizations may want to hold a special ceremony for your loved one.
Notify the Election Board.
According to a 2012 Pew Center report, almost 2 million people on voter registration rolls are dead. Removing your loved one from the voter registry helps reduce the risk of voter fraud in your area.
Update Your Will
Your deceased loved one may be part of your will and their death could affect it. If you do not make the necessary changes, your will may become invalid and be subject to the laws of intestate succession. Avoid this by updating your will to fit your current situation.