After the Funeral

After the Funeral

It is the sincere desire of the staff of Milward Funeral Directors to offer you our help and guidance not only on the funeral arrangements themselves, but also on the many details you will be faced with following the funeral services.

Fortunately, you are not involved with these arrangements every day. Therefore, you may need assistance with many details following the funeral. As part of our service to you, we are available to help you any way we can, at no additional cost.

What to do after a death occurs.

  • Call the U.S. Social Security Administration at 866-530-7754.  Social Security benefits include a one-time benefit of $255 to the surviving spouse. Dependent children are entitled to receive Social Security benefits.
  • Veterans Benefits Administration claim forms can be completed at a Veterans Hospital, the funeral home or cemetery.  Contact your funeral director or the county Veterans Benefits Representative to determine exactly what benefits have already been filed for.
  • Consult with an attorney to change the deed on your property and remove the deceased¹s name from the deed. This is done at the county seat where the property is located.  You will need a certified copy of the Death Certificate for this.
  • Change the titles and registrations of your vehicles.
    This is done at the Division of Motor Vehicles in the county where deceased was a resident.  This includes cars, trucks, trailers, motor homes, mobile homes, etc.  You may use a photocopy of the Death Certificate for this.

    In Lexington, contact the Fayette County Clerk, 162 East Main Street, Lexington, KY 40507. Phone: 859-253-3344.
  •  Contact all life insurance companies with whom the deceased had policies.  Ask what is required by their company to file a claim for the death benefit.  If you have a local agent they will help you or your funeral director can assist you.
  • Traditionally, life insurance companies require only two documents to establish proof of a claim: a Statement of Claim and the Certificate of Death.  Remember, though, that this is just a general statement and your insurance companies reserve the right to request further information or proof if they deem it necessary.

    When filling out the claim form, you may need some of the following information:

    -The policy number(s) and face amount(s)
    -The full name and address of the deceased
    -His/her occupation and last date worked
    -His/her date and place of birth and the source of birth information
    -Date, place and cause of death
    -Claimant/beneficiary name, address, phone number, age, date of birth and Social Security number
  • There are several ways of settling insurance claims.
    In most cases, you opt for a lump sum benefit, or you may choose to have the money paid to you over a time period of your choice.  In the latter case, the bulk of the money remains with the insurance company and continues to earn interest.  In either case, check with your insurance agent, financial advisor or attorney to find out which method would be most beneficial for your particular situation.
  • Contact credit card companies to notify them of the death.  Some credit cards and charge accounts include a life insurance policy with them.  They may want a certified copy of the Death Certificate.  If the card is held jointly, find out what documentation is required to change cards into the survivor¹s name.
  • Ask the credit bureau to assist you in transferring your spouse's creditinto your name.  They may also be able to assist you in determining any outstanding obligations of the deceased.
  •  Change over all bank accounts and remove the deceased¹s name from those accounts.  You may need a photocopy of the Death Certificate for this. 
  • Contact any financial institution where the deceased had a loan and inform them of the death.  They will be able to inform you if the loan was covered by credit life and what needs to be done to file the appropriate claim.  A Death Certificate is often required. 
  • Gather all of the bills together and make sure you are aware of all the credit obligations of the deceased.  Many installment loans, service contracts, and credit card accounts are covered by credit life insurance, which pays off the account balance in the event of the death of the customer.
  • Contact all sources of retirement funds that the deceased was receiving and apply for any benefits that are due to you.  You may need a certified copy of the Death Certificate for this.
  • Change all utilities from the deceased¹s name.  It is a good idea to use only your first initial and last name when listing your name in the phone directory.  This will help avert any unwanted or prank calls.  Many, if not all, of these accounts should be placed in a joint account with another family member to help in processing future needs.
  • Contact all health insurance companies to notify them of the death and stop coverage on the deceased.
    NOTE: If a company requests a certified copy of the Death Certificate, but are not providing you with a benefit, allow the company to pay for their own certified copy, i.e.: a life insurance company will pay the claim for life insurance, so you need to provide them with a certified copy of the Death Certificate; a health insurance company, on the other hand, just needs to stop coverage.  Allow them to request their own certified copy of the Death Certificate if they require one.
  • Review your own insurance needs.  Often, these needs can change after the death of a family member or other loved one.  Good organization of your own insurance information can aid survivors at the time this information is needed.
  • If you have a large estate you may want to consult an attorney.  If you use an attorney you will have to pay for their services, however, the help you receive may be invaluable.
  • Keep extra copies of the Death Certificate to send with your income tax returns if you still file.