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GLK Law offices of Gerald L. Kane A Life Care Planning & Elder Law Firm

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Encino Estate Planning Lawyer: How to Claim Death Benefits

The loss of someone close is a terrible experience to deal with, but what could make the situation even worse is the financial aspect that accompanies funeral and burial expenses. Money issues are the last thing grieving families want to think about, but difficulties can arise since death-related expenses must be paid soon after a loved one has passed. This is especially true if the deceased was the main provider of family income and assets are needed to make due until other arrangements are made. Fortunately, there are ways to receive death benefits quickly and help pay for these expenses, which can hopefully bring a small measure of comfort to families during their time of need.

Life insurance and annuities can often be collected quickly since these policies and accounts are required to have a beneficiary named. Any asset that names a beneficiary does not need to go through the California probate process for beneficiaries to claim them, allowing for faster distributions. The companies holding the policies and accounts will need a certified death certificate to start the process of distributing assets, along with many other company-specific forms that must be filled out. It may be wise to consult with a San Fernando Valley estate planning attorney who is experienced in probate and estate administration to make sure the forms are filled out correctly so that there are no issues when claiming the assets.

Social Security benefits, including death benefits and monthly survivor benefits, can also be claimed shortly after passing and will go to a surviving spouse or dependent children, if any. These benefits are relatively easy to acquire, but certain eligibility requirements such as age limits or disabilities must be met. Please note that some survivor benefits from Social Security are not retroactive if they are claimed after a certain amount of time has passed since death. There are also benefits available from the VA for the spouses of veterans. Once again, these benefits are relatively easy to claim, but certain eligibility requirements must be met.

If you would like to get more information about claiming death benefits quickly after a loved one dies to help pay for funeral and other end-of-life expenses, or if you’d like to have your current estate plan reviewed to make sure your loved ones can access the funds they need as soon as possible after your passing, please set up an appointment at our Encino estate planning law office by calling (818) 905-6088.

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