The death of a loved one is one of the most difficult experiences a person must handle. The financial aspect that accompanies funeral and burial expenses compounds the grief, making the situation even worse. Ventura County probate lawyers know that this is especially true if the deceased was the main breadwinner and the remaining family needs money to make it through the trying times they face.
While money is often the last thing grieving families want to think about, unfortunately, expenses related to death must be paid almost immediately after a loved one has passed away. The good news is that there are often ways to receive death benefits quickly to help pay for end-of-life expenses, which hopefully brings a small comfort to families during this time.
Life insurance and annuities can usually be collected quickly. These types of policies and accounts need to have a named beneficiary, and any asset that names a beneficiary does not need to go through the probate process for beneficiaries to claim them. The companies holding the policies and accounts will need death certificates to start the process of releasing assets, along with the completion of many forms from the companies. You should consult with an estate planning attorney to make sure the forms are filled out correctly so the assets can be claimed as soon as possible.
Social Security benefits, such as a death benefit or monthly survivor benefit, can be claimed quickly after a loved one passes and will go to a surviving spouse or dependent children if any. These benefits are relatively easy to receive as long as certain eligibility requirements, such as age or disabilities, are met. If you are unsure if you meet the requirements to receive Social Security death and/or survivor benefits, please contact an attorney as soon as possible. Time is of the essence to claim survivor benefits from Social Security, as some of them are not retroactive if there is too long of a delay after a loved one’s passing.
There are also benefits available from the Veteran’s Administration for the spouses of veterans. These benefits are also relatively easy to claim, but certain eligibility requirements must be met. Again, an experienced estate and probate attorney should be able to advise you about what to do in order to claim veteran’s death benefits from the VA.
Finally, it may be wise for the family to work with an estate and probate attorney here in Ventura County in order to move through the probate court as quickly as possible. Probate can, unfortunately, take months (and sometimes years), which can be difficult when a family needs the assets from a finalized estate. Working with an attorney who has experience in this area can help speed up the process. If you need help with probate, or if you have further questions about claiming death benefits after the passing of a loved one, we invite you to contact our office at (805) 409-3878 to schedule a consultation with one of our Ventura County probate lawyers.