One of the first and most important jobs of an estate executor is communication. The executor will likely be the first person to reach out to organizations, businesses, financial institutions, and government agencies to notify them of the deceased’s passing. For most executors the process is completely new, and they will need help through the process. The list below can help you keep your client organized as you guide them through the process.
Notifying financial institutions early on in the process can help protect the integrity of accounts and prevent any unintended charges or payments from processing. As soon as a financial institution is notified of the death of a client, they will likely freeze accounts until the probate process is completed. This can prevent fraudulent or unauthorized expenses from reducing the value of the estate.
Government agencies should also be near the top of the list. Social security payments received from the month the deceased passed away and any month after must be returned, so the sooner those payments can be stopped, the better. If the payments are direct deposited, the executor will have to work with the financial institution to refund those payments.
In addition to canceling identification like a driver’s license and passport, it will be important to notify the post office so that the deceased’s mail can be forwarded to the executor allowing the executor to monitor and identify any outstanding accounts or arrangements that must be notified.
There are various ongoing charges that are going to need to be handled. If the deceased rented their home, contacting the landlord will be a top priority. It will also be important to notify utility companies and either cancel services or arrange for alternative payments if you need to keep the utilities on.
Current and Former Employers
Letting employers know that the deceased has passed away will accomplish two things. If the deceased was still employed and receiving payments, it will prevent any excess payments that will have to be returned later. It will also allow the executor to identify any company benefits that may be available, including life insurance or retirement accounts that may be able to be distributed ahead of the probate process.
If the deceased held any life insurance policies or annuities, those policies can typically payout prior to the completion of probate, which can help provide liquidity to beneficiaries. Other insurances may no longer be necessary, so it will be important to end those payments.
While not necessarily a requirement, one of the key duties of an executor is to plan funeral arrangements for the deceased. As such informing friends, family and any social groups the deceased belonged to will likely be highly appreciated. While this list hits some of the large groups that an executor will have to reach out to, it is by no means exhaustive. Depending on the estate an executor may have to reach out to dozens of individuals, businesses and institutions. Even then, it will be difficult and time consuming to catch everything. As such, NotifyNow can streamline the process and save an executor both time and money by automatically notifying creditors, financial institutions and subscription services all at once.