To learn how to handle the following assets of the deceased, speak with your financial advisor.
General rules are as follows:
- Automobiles. Find out if the title of the car of the deceased needs to be modified by checking with the State DMV.
- Insurance Policies. The beneficiaries of policies held by the deceased's spouse may need to be modified. (It might be smart to lessen the amount of life insurance coverage if the spouse doesn't have any dependents. ) Revision of home and auto insurance may also need to be done.
- Bank Accounts. The title of a joint bank account will automatically pass to the surviving spouse. Advise the bank to change the ownership records. If the name of the deceased was the only name on the bank account, the asset will go through probate unless it is a trust account.
- Safe Deposit Box. A court order is necessary, in most states, to open a safe deposit box that is only in the deceased's name.
- Stocks and Bonds. Verify with the broker of the deceased to change title of stocks and bonds.
- Credit Cards. If the credit cards are only in the deceased's name, they should be cancelled and the estate should pay outstanding payments. If the cards are in both names, the surviving spouse should inform the credit card companies of the death and ask for cards only in the survivor's name to be reissued.