This week we are discussing the settling of an estate. After gathering documents and seeking appropriate legal and tax advice, it's time to pick up the phone. Remember, this is a long and often frustrating process. Call social security and the veteran’s administration if the deceased qualified for benefits. Death benefits aren't just provided from traditional life insurance policies. Be sure to check with their employer, bank or credit union, mortgage company, credit cards, and even auto finance companies. There's many ways to insure against death, so be sure to look carefully at all of the deceased's accounts. There just might be a credit life policy, or other death benefit included. Regardless of death benefits, all of the creditors need to be contacted. And they'll probably request a copy of the death certificate. Again, remember to order plenty. Call their property and casualty agents. Make sure you ask which insurance should remain in force. For example, you wouldn't want to cancel homeowners insurance as long as the estate owns the home. Just because someone has passed away doesn't mean their need for certain types of insurance ended as well. As you make these phone calls, please make sure all of the bills and taxes get paid. If there isn't sufficient income or assets to pay everything, the executor may need to take additional steps. Once again, seek tax and legal council. Tomorrow, we will talk about ways to make this process smoother. If you have a financial question for Ross, you can use the Marino on Money page.
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