Dealing with outstanding financial affairs after the loss of a loved one can be extremely difficult. Our probate attorneys often hear from clients who would rather do anything else than think about money after their loved one’s passing. Unfortunately, death comes with expenses, and even a modest funeral and burial can cost many thousands of dollars. If the deceased was also the family breadwinner, the surviving spouse may need immediate access to funds from the estate just to pay the bills.
Fortunately, there are ways for grieving families to quickly request death benefits to offset expenses. Below, you will find an explanation of who can claim death benefits after the loss of a loved one and how to access them in the fastest and most efficient manner.
Life Insurance or Annuities
Funds from a life insurance policy or annuity can be collected quickly since they are required to have a beneficiary named. To access such benefits, the company that holds the policy will likely require a death certificate to start the process of distributing funds. Each company also has forms they require the beneficiary to fill out. If you have any concerns about the forms, contact a qualified probate lawyer to make sure they are filled out properly so that there are no problems or delays.
Social Security Benefits
Social Security benefits, including death and monthly survivor benefits, can also be claimed after the death of a loved one and will go to a surviving spouse or dependent children. These benefits are fairly easy to obtain, but there are some eligibility requirements. It’s also important to claim survivor benefits immediately because they are not retroactive if claimed after a certain amount of time passes.
If the deceased was a veteran, there may be additional funds that spouses or dependents can access through the Veteran’s Administration. These benefits are also relatively easy to claim, but certain eligibility requirements must be met. An experienced probate attorney should be able to advise you about what to do in order to claim veteran’s death benefits from the VA.
If you have suffered a loss and need additional guidance as you move through the estate administration process, we invite you to contact our qualified attorneys to schedule a consultation. We can help you work through the legal issues and paperwork so that you can concentrate on healing from your loss.