If you have suffered the tragic loss of a loved one, you may not be sure what to do next. You probably aren’t immediately ready to think about the more mundane repercussions of their passing. However, you do need to quickly figure out new financial situation. There may be debts that you are now responsible for or money that you now have access to. The steps below can help you find your way out of the financial hardships that can come after a terrible loss.
Review Police Records
If you lost your loved one as the result of an accident of any sort, you may need to contact a wrongful death attorney to determine the best way forward. In many cases, you may need to sue an insurance company. If you are battling an insurance company for a settlement in the case of a wrongful death, do not try to do it alone. Your attorney can take this burden off of you and protect you during your time of grief.
For those who have lost a spouse, it is a good idea to check in with their employer about what was included in your spouse’s benefits package. There may be a life insurance policy or other benefits available for their loved ones that you are not aware of. Talk to HR or personnel to figure out what features of the benefits package can be accessed to help you now. It is especially critical that you have this conversation quickly if your spouse’s job covered your health insurance.
Go through bank statements to see if there were any automatic deductions that might have paid a life insurance policy. Many times, your bank may offer a free life insurance policy to adults in the household that you signed up for and then forgot about. While none of these policies are likely to be large, they can help you get your financial life in order and give you time to grieve. For most of us, bank statements are fairly dry and difficult to follow. Sit down with your banker and have them explain to you what money has gone where so you know who to talk to. There are also websites you can review to see if there are life insurance policies in place that you were not aware of.
Check with Your Mortgage Bank
There are mortgages that include a payoff insurance policy built in. If both you and your spouse were on the mortgage, the burden of paying back the debt may now fall to you, or it may be completely covered. Carefully review the data that came with your mortgage. If you’re having trouble parsing the complete meaning in the documents, take your mortgage agreement to an attorney to determine what your options are.
The business side of tragedy can be daunting, so be ready to reach out and ask for help. Your spouse’s employer and personnel department, your banker and mortgage holder, and an attorney can be your allies as you take the time you need to grieve.