Guidance for a Surviving Spouse
Navigating the process of executing an estate can be complex. If this task falls on you, it’s likely that you are still grieving from your recent loss and the task of administration seems overwhelming. Managing what needs to be done before, during, and after a death has occurred requires many details to be considered, but it’s a process that can be made easier if you know where to turn for help.
One of the most significant sources of help will be a funeral planner. And while funeral planners can help you with an immediate need, pre-planning a funeral makes the process easier and is a better value than paying for services on an immediate-need basis. The professionals at Dignity Memorial are always available to help guide you through pre-planning options and explain the details. Your funeral director will take a burden off you by overseeing the logistics of the funeral service and memorialization. The team at Dignity is also available to help you with any questions or concerns you might have in the days, weeks, and years following the service.
Aside from the immediate needs associated with a funeral, ongoing legal support can be obtained from an estate attorney. While it’s not essential to have a family estate attorney on hand, doing so will make distributing assets simpler for you and will avoid complications associated with navigating unknown legal territory alone. Similarly, a comprehensive support team would also include a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Your CPA will help file the final tax return for the decedent and, along with the estate attorney, provide guidance on handling any trusts, stocks, or bonds.
A task that both the estate attorney and CPA may need your help with is managing recurring bills or subscriptions maintained by you or your loved one. Make a list of expenses like a mortgage, utilities, insurance, and credit card payments, and be sure that the name of the decedent is removed from the accounts and that they remain current or are canceled. Think about any subscriptions that were in use, but that may not be needed anymore – smartphone applications, online streaming services, printed publications, and gym memberships, for example. These will all need to be considered for cancelation or transfer to a new name.
Deleting or memorializing social media accounts should be completed by contacting the specific company directly. Finalizing these accounts, as well as any electronic mail accounts, will likely need to be performed by the Executor or Administrator of the estate, and may require documents such as a death certificate. Ensuring these details are not overlooked will help you avoid any hassle associated with identify theft in the future.
Dignity Memorial offers resources to help prepare and support families with end of life plans. To receive a free planning guide, call 910-791-4444. Even after attending a funeral service at Dignity Memorial, the care continues with The Compassion Helpline® which offers over the phone counseling services 24 hours a day.
Michael Higgins is Sales Manager for Dignity Memorial®, which cares for more than 300,000 families each year through its network of more than 2,000 providers throughout North America. Learn more at www.dignitymemorial. com or call Greenlawn Memorial Park, Oleander Memorial Gardens and Coble Funeral and Cremation Services at Greenlawn Memorial Park, (910) 799-1686.