Losing someone important to us is heartbreaking. However while in grief, there is some important decision we have to make. There are urgent matters one needs to attend right away, such as paying for the funeral and bills.
Here’s a checklist of what you need to do:
- Make funeral arrangements – Are there any plans for the pre-arrangements? Or did they purchase a cemetery plot? Find out their contact if this arrangement has been made, otherwise contact the funeral planner for help.
- Get certified copies of the death certificate – Death certificate needs to be attached upon filing probate, closing an account, claiming for an insurance payout, etc. Do make on average 6 to 10 copies in hand.
- Get the original estate planning documents – this includes the original Will and Trust the deceased set up earlier. For example, those who kept their Will with Rockwills can proceed to Rockwills HQ with the death certificate and proof you are the authorized person to deal with the estate to get the original Will. For those who choose to keep on their own, make sure the Will is easily accessible to the next of kin. Remember, when nobody is able to locate your Will, your final wishes will not be executed accordingly.
- Sort out important documents – Make sure important documents such as income tax filing, bank book/bank details, SPA/loan agreement, your investment details and you have a list of respective personnel contact no with you. Do you know Rockwills provide custody service and a custody book for you to list down all these? Check this out! Or contact Rockwills Estate Planner for help.
- Filling probate – For those who have a Will, you need to file a probate. The court will then issue a Letter of Probate for the executor to proceed to redeem all the assets and debts. For those without a Will, getting mutual agreement on an appointed administrator may delay the distribution process.
- Review/Cancel insurance plan – Contact your insurance provider to claim the insurance payout. Insurance and KWSP are the fastest channels to receive your money to payoff funeral bills and other monthly commitments.
- Cancel credit cards – Debts and interest will continue to pile up if you do not cancel the credit card. Make sure it is canceled on time before the next billing, otherwise surviving next of kin needs to pay off the debts before estate distribution starts.
- Cancel membership / monthly subscriptions – monthly subscriptions such as gym, professional organizations, newspaper & magazines, online digital accounts &, etc.
- Visit KWSP – KWSP provides a gesture of compassion to the eligible dependent of RM2,500 (one-time payoff). For more info visit: KWSP – Death
- Contact your financial adviser – To change the account holding name, change the beneficiary, and change ownership.
- Update beneficiaries – policy purchases where the deceased act as policy owners to their child, need to be updated. Beneficiaries in Will/Trust to replace the deceased entitlement to other surviving parties.
What Not To Do
Don’t make unnecessary life-changing decisions within a year
Very often we saw deceased family members tend to sell off the property immediately after the death of their loved ones. Some intend to make large purchases due to receiving a huge inheritance. Some parents get swayed by their emotions and just transfer a big portion of money and possessions to kids or relatives.
Property that you inherit will incurred property gain tax if you sold it within 5 years inheriting it. The money left by the deceased usually is catered to support the family financially for a period of a few years, not meant to use up all within a year. So plan wisely if you received a huge inheritance because it might be a temporary or worst case permanently lose the main source of income.
List of Documents needed in place for a smooth asset distribution
- Death Certificate
- Marriage Certificate
- Tax return filing
- Bank accounts
- Investment accounts
- Insurance policies
- KWSP account
- Mortgages / House Title (for property free from encumbrances)
- Car loans / other installment loans
- Safe deposit box(s)
- Business documents
- Insurance policies
- Utility bills
- All bills under your care
You should include account no, email addresses, contact person, and the location of your documents so that the one executing the estate can have easier execution.
If you are still in doubt on how to go about it, contact your financial advisor to guide you through. Alternatively, do contact me if you need my further advice.