Dealing With Business Details After A Loss

organize business records

This checklist is a reminder for families about business details that may need attention after a loss.


  • Obtain 10 to 15 copies of death certificates. Certified death certificates are needed for benefits from insurance, trusts, contracts, annuities, social security, property transfers, mortgages, bank accounts, etc. They are less expensive and easier to obtain from the mortuary when funeral arrangements are made.
  • Marriage and birth certificates may also be needed to prove a relationship to the deceased.
  • Check if “credit life insurance” was carried on any debts including mortgage. These accounts can be closed.
  • If your loved one was receiving social security benefits, notify your local social security office. Find an office by calling (800) 772-1213 or on the web at: secure.ssa.gov/ICON/. Ask if you are eligible for benefits for spouse and minor children.
  • Contact the health insurance company or employer regarding ending coverage for your deceased loved one, while continuing coverage for any dependents if needed.
  • Contact the insurance company about life insurance policies. You will need to provide the policy number, a certified copy of the death certificate and file a claim. If your loved one was listed as a beneficiary on any policy, update to a new name.
  • If your loved one was working, contact his/her employer for information about pension plans, credit unions, and union death benefits. You will need a certified copy of the death certificate for each claim.
  • Return his/her credit cards with a certified copy of the death certificate, or notify the credit card company if you, as the survivor, want to retain use of the card.
  • Arrange to change stocks and bonds into your name.
  • If you are the beneficiary on an IRA or 401(k) account, you can request control of the account by presenting a certified death certificate.
  • Check on safety deposit boxes/keys.
  • Check on automotive insurance benefits or unused premium.