Office hours are:

9:00AM - 5:00PM Mon-Thur.
9:00AM - 3:00PM Friday

(Eastern Standard Time)

Available for in-person consultation in Inverness, FL

BY APPOINTMENT ONLY

$350/hr.

This guide is written with the intention of assisting you during this difficult time.  In the course of your efforts to settle the deceased's estate you may discover issues that need to be attended to that are not addressed in this guide.  We encourage you to ask questions of the deceased's close friends and relatives to ensure that you are fully informed of the deceased's assets, debts, pending lawsuits, and any other outstanding matters that may need attention.

Important Phone Numbers:


The following is a list of phone numbers you may find useful.

1.  Social Security: www.ssa.gov                               1-800-772-1213
2.  Veterans Administration                                       1-800-827-1000
3.  Civil Service Personnel Management Office            1-888-767-6738
4.  DFAS Causualty Assistance Office (Cleveland)      1-800-269-5170
5.  Office of Servicemembers Life Insurance                1-800-419-1473

The following is a list of issues to be considered when dealing with the decedent’s estate:

1.    Contact all applicable insurance companies (auto, life, health). You will need the following information:

    a.    Policy number and/or social security number of deceased.
    b.    Full name of the deceased.
    c.    Date and cause of death.
    d.    Certified copy of death certificate.

2.    If you believe the deceased may have had life insurance and/or annuities but do not know with which insurance company, the National Association of Insurance

      Commissioners offers a free service that utilizes information you provide to search for any policies in the deceased’s name. You can contact this service here: 

      https://eapps.naic.org/life-policy-locator/#/welcome

3.    Request approximately 10 certified copies of the death certificate (most without cause of death). Check with the funeral home director for assistance.

4.    Locate the original Last Will and Testament and consult with an attorney to determine what actions must be taken. Check for an established trust.

5.    Contact the Veterans Administration for applicable benefits for the deceased and/or surviving spouse and dependent children.
       You will need the following information:
        a.    Certified copy of the death certificate.
        b.    Copy of your marriage certificate (spouses only).
        c.    Copies of the birth certificate for dependent children.    

6.    If the deceased was retired military: contact the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (Cleveland, OH) Casualty Assistance Line to report the death and check for   

       survivor annuity (SBP, RSFPP).
       You will need the following information:
       ▸    Certified copy of the death certificate.
       ▸    Copy of your marriage certificate (spouses only).
       ▸    Copies of the birth certificate for dependent children.    
    
7.    Contact Social Security to check on survivor benefits.
       You will need the following information:
       ▸    Certified copy of the death certificate.
       ▸    Social Security Number of deceased.
       ▸    Social Security Number of spouse/dependents.
       ▸    Birth certificates for spouse and dependent children.
       ▸    Approximate earnings of deceased in past year/last employer.
       ▸    If monthly benefits were being paid via direct deposit, notify the bank or other financial institution of the beneficiary's death. Request that any funds received

              for the month of death and later be returned to Social Security as soon as possible.
       ▸    If benefits were being paid by check, DO NOT CASH any checks received for the month in which the beneficiary died or thereafter. Return the checks to Social

              Security as soon as possible.
       ▸    A one-time payment of $255 is payable to the surviving spouse if he or she was living with the beneficiary at the time of death, OR if living apart, was eligible for

             Social Security benefits on the beneficiary's earnings record for the month of death. If there is no surviving spouse, the payment is made to a child who was eligible

             for benefits on the beneficiary's earnings record in the month of death.    

8.    Contact deceased's employer for possible group insurance or additional benefits.

9.    Contact Civil Service Office of Personnel Management if deceased was an active or retired employee of the Civil Service.    
    

10.    Contact the holder of home/real estate loans for possible mortgage insurance coverage.

11.    Notify all creditors of the deceased's estate of the death. Check on credit life insurance.  

 
12.    Contact banks, credit unions, or credit card companies for any insurance coverage on loans? Check on savings and checking accounts.    

13.    Contact all three major credit reporting agencies of the death. They will add a “deceased” indicator to the credit file to deter anyone from opening a new account in the

         decedent’s name:

         Equifax    1-800-685-1111
         Experian    1-888-397-3742
         Transunion    1-800-888-4213


14.    Contact any fraternal organizations or associations the deceased may have been a member of for assistance and to determine benefits.    
  

15.    Review financial paperwork for other details (check stubs, canceled checks, stocks and bonds, real estate, safe deposit boxes, etc.) Caution: do not open any safe

        deposit boxes without first consulting with an attorney.  


16.    If you are a spouse of the deceased, you should review your own life insurance policies to ensure that ownership and beneficiary designations are still current. Review

        your present amount of coverage and type of insurance with a financial professional.    
                
17.    If the deceased was a Florida resident, check with the State of Florida’s Division of Unclaimed Property, https://fltreasurehunt.gov/, to see if any funds are currently

        held in the decedent’s name and now owed to their estate? [NOTE: If the deceased was widowed, be sure to check if their predeceased spouse is owed funds?]

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The hiring of a Florida probate attorney is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience. This site is designed to provide general information only. Content on this site should not be interpreted as specific legal advice, or the formation of an attorney/client relationship.

Survivor Guide

The hiring of a Florida probate attorney is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience. This site is designed to provide general information only. Content on this site should not be interpreted as specific legal advice, or the formation of an attorney/client relationship.

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