Preparing for a Pending Death

Preparation Steps

When a death occurs, most people are at a loss regarding what must be done and in what order to do it. The following information is offered to help you while dealing with your loss or to be used as a guide in preparation for a pending death. Things you need to do as soon as possible:

  • Notify the doctor or call 911
  • Notify immediate relatives
  • Notify a funeral home

Things to Take to the Funeral Home

  • Insurance policies
  • Union information
  • A recent photograph
  • Clothing

Benefit / Ownership Matters

Many institutions and benefit programs require a certified copy of the Death Certificate for business transactions.

  • Bank and Credit Union Accounts
  • Insurance / Mortgage companies
  • Franchise tax board
  • Attorney
  • Executor of the Estate
  • Pension Plan or Retirement system
  • Real Property
  • Social Security
  • Stocks and bonds
  • Veteran benefits

Social Security Information

A Social Security death benefit is only paid to a surviving spouse, unless there are special circumstances. Benefits are not paid automatically. If you believe you qualify for benefits, contact your Social Security field office immediately. Depending upon the type of benefits for which you are applying, some of the following records may be required:

  1. Proof of Death (a certified copy of the Death Certificate)
  2. Social Security Card (for the deceased)
  3. Copy of Marriage Certificate
  4. Birth Certificate-of Deceased
  5. Birth Certificate-of applicant
  6. Birth Certificates-of minor children
  7. Proof of Disability (for children over 18 years of age)
  8. Receipted funeral bill (if applicant is other than the surviving spouse)
  9. Employment record
  10. Proof of support (if applicant is parent or husband)

The funeral home should notify Social Security of the death by filing FORM SSA-721. However, the family must follow up to determine if any additional benefits are due.

Refer to the Social Security Administration website for information regarding death benefits.

Veterans' Benefits

Veterans with an honorable discharge are entitled to various benefits, depending on the status of the veteran. Veterans' benefits will not be paid automatically. Review the Veterans Association website for information regarding veterans benefits.