Financial tasks should be addressed as soon as possible to avoid further charges of automatic payments against existing bank accounts.
Begin the process of changing ownership or closing personal accounts by locating all financial information. Review checkbook registers, bank statements, or access online banking accounts (if possible) to identify creditors and payees. Remember that some ongoing automatic payments occur yearly, not monthly. Try to get the last full year of account activity for all bank accounts to find the recurring transactions. All of these recurring payments require notification of death to change or close accounts.
It is also important to notify the decedent’s attorney, accountant, insurance broker, and any other financial advisors. If you think or feel you need your own accountant or financial planner to help guide you through this process, please keep in mind that fees add up quickly.
When online options are not available and you must call by phone, use our free Telephone Script to notify financial entities.
You will need the decedent’s personal information (from the Decedent Information Form) for these notifications and, in some cases, a death certificate may be required.
DO NOT GIVE OUT DECEDENT’S SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER (SSN) FREELY.
Some organizations require a Social Security Number, but they are mostly limited to governmental (federal and state) entities; banks and financial institutions; and employers.
Offer another form of identification in place of it, like a driver’s license or a passport number.
If you are asked for the SSN, ask:
1. What law requires it?
2. Why do you need it?
3. How it will be used?
4. What happens if I do not give it?
Use our free Financial Tasks checklist to get started.
Other Free After-Death Resources:
Organizational Tools (Support System) to get organized.
Residential Tasks to manage residential logistics.
Telephone Script (Financial Tasks) to notify entities by phone.
Notify Services and Accounts (Financial Tasks) instructions and forms to change and cancel accounts.
Legal Tasks to understand the legal considerations.
Decedent Information form to reference vital statistics.