Loss of a Loved One

Common Concerns with Estate Planning:

  • How does it affect my insurance coverage?
  • Who has the legal right to use the house or car?
  • Should the house be rented, listed for sale, or transferred to a family member?

Automobile Insurance

Contact your agent to inform them of the death. If you are the surviving spouse, ask if there are things you need to do so that the policy continues for you. Is there another person that may regularly be driving the car? If so, let your insurance agent know so they can be added to the policy. There may also be restrictions for use of that car while the estate is being settled.

Homeowners’ Insurance

Change the policy by removing the deceased from the policy. Make sure there is sufficient coverage; if the property will be vacant, you may need to consider adding vandalism coverage. When the property is sold or transferred to a new owner, the policy should be canceled.

Real property documents

Locate the deeds to all real property. If you can’t find them at home they may be located in a safety deposit box. Change the deed on the property by removing the deceased’s name. Prior to transfer of ownership, you may need to change the named insured to the trust or estate of the deceased. This may be the case if the assets are in probate court waiting for settlement of the estate. A lawyer will be able to assist you with this process.

Certified copies of the death certificate will be needed for these purposes:

  • Mortgage deed changes (one copy each for town clerk and each lender on any property)
  • Title and registration transfers for autos
  • Access to safety deposit boxes
  • Life insurance claim submission
  • Business properties and ownership interests
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