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The Loss of a Loved One: Settling Their Financial Affairs

The Loss of a Loved One: Settling Their Financial Affairs

When you lose a loved one, settling their affairs is the furthest thing from your mind. Yet, it has to be done. We hope these tips will help serve as a guide to help you navigate a very difficult time.

Make a list of your loved one’s accounts.

If they have a place they keep mail and important statements, you’ll be able to reference those in determining who to contact for each of their accounts. Here’s a checklist to keep in mind as you’re looking at files:

  • Financial – These may be through a bank or credit union, credit cards, loans, and investments
  • Bills – Review any household bills like utilities, cable, internet, phone, and other monthly services.
  • Income – If your loved one had a job, you’ll need to contact their employer; if they received any retirement or federal funds like Social Security or VA payments.
  • Insurance – This includes health, auto and life insurance policies that may be in place.
  • Post Office – Remember to get their mail forwarded or cancelled.

Ensure you have the appropriate documentation for each company you are reaching out to.

If there is a joint account owner or beneficiary listed, you may only need a death certificate. If neither if these are listed on an account, you may need additional paperwork that specifies you as an Executor in your loved one’s will or a Personal Representative when there is not a will.  Additionally, you will need your own social security card and identification card like a driver’s license, state issued ID, passport, or military ID.

Here are a few key points to keep in mind as they relate to accounts held at Gulf Winds:

  • We require a Long Form Death Certificate. This particular type of certificate includes the cause of death and is necessary to file payment protection claims.
  • Any Federal Paying Agency’s Direct Deposits that are received after death must be returned to the payee. This includes Social Security, DFAS, VA, etc. You will need to contact federal agencies to get payments stopped so that you don’t have to pay back additional funds.
  • We may require Letters of Administration, Summary of Administration, or additional documents depending upon the account circumstances.
  • If you live out of town, we can help to restructure (removing a deceased joint account owner, changing beneficiaries, etc.) or close accounts.
  • For outstanding loans, if there is a co-borrower the loan balance becomes their responsibility. Loans with no co-borrower need to be paid in full. Funds in a deposit account may be held or transferred to the loan. Collateral loans are also required to be paid in full, or the collateral must be surrendered.
  • For mortgages, any co-borrowers will continue to be responsible for the loan. For mortgage loans with no co-borrower, please contact our Collections Loss Mitigation & Recovery Specialist. Letters of Administration may be required.
  • If contents were being held in a safe deposit box and there is no joint renter, Gulf Winds may require Letters of Administration or other types of Court Orders to enter, obtain contents, and/or to close the box.

Understanding your next steps is crucial during such an emotional time. You may consider hiring an advisor to help you navigate the process of finalizing your loved one’s financial affairs. As always, we are here to help in any way we can. Just give us a call at 800.650.6328.


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