Taking Care of Difficult Business (Part 1)
Transitioning Accounts When a Loved One Passes
The loss of a loved one is difficult, and transitioning the day-to-day management of a deceased family member’s finances can be overwhelming. The following information can help prepare you for what to expect if you need to handle a deceased family member's SLFCU account(s).
YOU DON’T NEED TO COME IN RIGHT AWAY
While it is important to handle financial matters in a timely fashion, you do not have to come in or call us right away. In most instances, you can wait a few weeks after your loved one’s passing to come in and speak with us about their accounts.
THE PROCESS IS UNIQUE TO EACH INDIVIDUAL – AND CAN BE COMPLEX
The process for changing or closing a deceased member’s account is as unique as the individual who owned it. The documents you will be asked to provide and the length of time it will take to complete the transition will depend on the number and type of accounts your loved one had with SLFCU, if there are joint owners on the account(s), and/or if there are payable on death beneficiaries on the account(s). An SLFCU Financial Services Officer will sit with you to go over the details of your loved one’s accounts and what documentation you will need to provide.
A CERTIFIED COPY OF THE DEATH CERTIFICATE IS ALWAYS REQUIRED
While a complete list of required documents will depend on the type(s) of account(s) your loved one had, a certified copy of the death certificate is always required. SLFCU will require you to present a certified copy before dispersing funds or closing the account. Tip: in the weeks following the death of a loved one, you may be asked to provide more than one certified copy to different places. We recommend requesting several certified copies when obtaining the death certificate.
POWER OF ATTORNEY ENDS AT TIME OF DEATH
If you have been granted power of attorney for a loved one’s account, it is important to understand that it will end at the time of their death. Only joint account owners, payable on death beneficiaries, or personal representatives appointed by the court have access to a deceased member’s account(s).
WAITING TOO LONG TO ALERT SLFCU COULD RESULT IN FROZEN ACCOUNTS
If SLFCU receives notification from the Social Security Administration about your loved one’s passing without prior notice from a joint owner, beneficiary, personal representative, or next of kin, a note will be added to the account and, in some cases, all access to the account could be frozen until we are contacted. The freeze could include access to the accounts in online and mobile banking. To avoid this circumstance, we recommend contacting us within 30 days of your loved one’s passing.
To learn about how you can prepare your accounts for an easier transition for your loved ones after your passing, read the second part of "Taking Care of Difficult Business" in the December 2022 issue of our Dollars & Sense newsletter.
This article should not be construed as legal advice. If you have questions about estate planning, please consult an estate planning attorney.
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