Death of a spouse – things to consider:
Call Social Security if receiving benefits-
o Should get a death benefit check of $255
o Cancel spouse benefit
o Or get spouse benefit if larger than your own
Call MetLife and any other life insurance company based on policies-
For questions about your MetLife insurance policy or to speak with a representative call:
MetLife National Benefits Center
P.O. Box 14406
Lexington, Kentucky 40511
o Most Cat retirees have a life insurance policy
o Stop Cat pension check
o Or have reduced pension check if approved at retirement and not changed
o Stop supplemental insurance if currently receiving
o Ask about Cat stock or financial info if left at Cat and not transferred to financial advisor at retirement
Call OneExchange(if on Cat supplemental plan)-
o Advise of death and ask how to handle final hospital/doctor bill payments
Check with banks on life insurance or payment cancellation upon death
Need for death certificates
o The need to transfer cars, houses, bank accounts, financial accts, etc require
“original” death certificates although some only need a copy. Cost at time is about
$15 each and could be as much as $100-
Contact financial rep if 401K’s, annuities, etc.
o Find out options on what is taxable and not and what is available immediately
Find your will or contact your lawyer for a copy
Check for any bank safe deposit boxes
Here is a list I found that is more generic but may be of help in timing of getting things settled.
What to Do When Your Spouse Dies: A Checklist For the First Year
By Marilyn McWilliams, JD
All marriages end – either in divorce, or someday when “death do us part.” When this inevitable and sad time comes, a widowed spouse may feel in a rush do everything – settle the bank accounts, file the will, make a plan. But, in fact, the surviving spouse is often best served taking things slowly and carefully.
Here’s a timeline of things to do within the first year:
As the shock and emotions settle in, remember that there’s not too much you need to do immediately. You simply must:
• Locate – but not necessarily go through – key documents: your marriage license,
birth certificates for yourself and minor children, a will, bank records, insurance
policies, and military records;
• Notify friends and family;
• Stack and store incoming mail – but don’t go through it;
• Make funeral arrangements, if desired; and
• Call you or your spouse’s health insurance company (or Medicare) to find out about coverage for you and your minor children; and
• If there is a will, within ten days of the death, file (or lodge) the will within the County District Court where the deceased lived.*
Within the first month
• Get state-
• Inform Social Security (if relevant) and/or any organization distributing defined benefits (such as the VA or an employer offering a pension) of your spouse’s death;
• Apply for life insurance, VA, Social Security, pension or other relevant benefits;
• Pay essential bills such as your mortgage or rent and insurances, but defer any large expenses; and
• Plan a six-
Within six months
• Identify and catalog your assets;
• Work with an accountant, financial planner or lawyer to complete a financial plan;
• If there is a trust, work with an attorney to begin administering the trust.
• Consider reducing your living expenses but, if possible, delay any move for a year;
• Consider joining a support group or obtaining grief counseling for yourself and your children;
• Work with an accountant to understand – and file-
• Understand if you need to pay estate tax.
• Work with your attorney to understand if any assets should be disclaimed.
Within nine months
• Ensure any federal and inheritance tax returns are filed; and
• File any disclaimers.
At one year
• Make sure your own estate planning is complete; and
• If necessary, get life insurance to protect your children.
*The initial paperwork to probate an estate can be filed six days after the decedent’s death. You have up to three years to initiate the probate process