What To Do When A Loved One Passes Away

so many changes happen when losing a loved one, here’s what you should know

Eau Claire County Aging & Disability Resource Center

HERE TO HELP. Here's a list of things to keep in mind after you lose a loved one. (Photo via Unsplash)
HERE TO HELP. Here's a list of things to keep in mind after you lose a loved one. (Photo via Unsplash)

When a spouse or loved one passes away, it can be a very difficult time for the family. Here is a non-exclusive list of actions that may help a family get started on finalizing the decedent’s affairs. Each situation is different and this is just a simple guide of suggestions.

• Look for a will in the person’s home, a safe deposit box, or filed at the county Register in Probate office.
• Consult an attorney about the need for probate and payment of outstanding debts. A Transfer by Affidavit may be an option for estates of less than $50,000.
• Consult the preferred funeral home and find out if the person had advance burial planning in place.
• Notify a landlord in writing that the person has passed away. This limits the rental liability to two months of rent past the month of notification.
• Notify utility companies if cable or phone can be stopped.
• Notify Social Security Administration so that benefits are not overpaid, and so that dependent and widow’s benefits can be properly paid out.
• Notify a life insurance policy. Usually a death certificate is needed to pay out the beneficiary of record.
• Notify a Power Of Attorney agent or guardian that his/her authority has ended.
• Close out credit cards and social media accounts.
• If there is a surviving spouse and property is jointly titled, complete a HT-110 form to notify the county Register of Deeds office that one spouse has passed away. A death certificate must accompany this request. Most funeral homes take care of this, so ask.
• Notify Medicaid Estate Recovery if the person received Medicaid benefits. (608-264-6755)
• Notify DMV, Post Office, possibly voter registration if so inclined
• To minimize identity theft risk notify the 3 major credit agencies: Experian, Equifax, TransUnion
• Stop health insurance

*Note that many of these actions will require a person who has authority to act on behalf of the decedent, meaning the executor or personal representative of the estate. This is a very important role and GWAAR recommends that a personal representative consult with an elder law or probate attorney to ensure the estate is handled properly according to state statutes as paying creditors in the wrong order could cause personal liability on the part of the personal representative.

Aging & Disability Resource Center
715-839-4735 • 1-888-338-4636 • tty: use Relay (711) adrc@co.eau-claire.wi.us