Dealing with Household Finances After a Loved One’s Accident

if a loved one Lost suddenly, the surviving family was face-to-face with an unplanned, difficult reality.

Know how assets are titled. Many couples don’t realize that assets held in an individual’s name do not immediately offer the right of “spousal transfer.” These include brokerage and checking accounts. When banks learn of the death of an account holder (the estate has an obligation to inform the bank about the death), the bank can freeze the account.

Know the terms of any credit card accounts. Cards can close automatically upon the death of the account owner; so you may need to arrange a new method of payment for services that have been set up on auto payment. If you are an authorized user on an account that was owned by the deceased, do not use the card after the main cardholder dies; because you’re not liable for the debt, use of the card after the owner passes could be considered fraud.

Educate yourself on investments and how to access important records. work with your bank trust department or an estate attorney.

Know what life insurance is owned and how to file a claim in order to avoid delays. In the absence of a Will, state law will govern the disposition of assets; so write down what you want to happen.