Navigate the Financial Maze

In this section you will receive guidance on how to navigate your way through numerous financial decisions.

Financial & Utility Accounts

Locate open accounts and make necessary cancellations or changes

Pull a credit report to quickly get a comprehensive summary of open accounts

Everything After Tip: Request a free credit report at annualcreditreport.com, a central website provided by Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

It’s a simple and quick way to order a credit report that is available instantly.

If you’d like help pulling a report and making sense of it, schedule a free consultation with Full-Circle.

Get Help Finding Open Accounts
Remove the deceased’s name from any utility accounts
  • For all utilities in the decedent’s name only, either cancel the account or transfer it to the survivor or new homeowner. No changes are needed for any utility account that includes the names of both the survivor and the deceased.
  • Call all utility accounts you intend to cancel or transfer, and say you would like to remove the decedent’s name from the account.
  • Be sure to have the following information nearby prior to the call:
    Account holder’s contact info
    Date of death
    Death certificate
    SSN
    Account ID
Cancel any bill pay or ACH accounts for services you no longer need

Everything After Tip: Unsure which ongoing bills are still being paid? Look for recurring payments on bank statements, a credit report, or even in the decedent’s email.

Contact insurance companies to stop coverage for the deceased
Change ownership of investment accounts
  • This process varies depending on the type of investment, the firm, and what you wish to do with the account. Generally the account’s beneficiary will get access by providing a copy of the death certificate and filling out any required forms.

Everything After Tip: Need help understanding which options will best meet your financial goals? We offer a free 1-hour consultation with a financial planner in addition to notifying accounts and determining if probate is necessary.

Remove the deceased’s name from bank accounts
  • Notify the bank after 3-6 months or following the completion of probate. This is best to do in person, though you may be able to do it over the phone, online, or by mail depending on the bank’s policies.
  • Before beginning the process of releasing funds and closing the decedent’s bank account, the bank will need several documents following your notification.
    • The death certificate
    • Two forms of proof of your identity, such as a passport and a utility bill
    • An original or certified copy of the will (if there is one)
    • Proof of your relationship and legal authority to deal with the assets (letters of testamentary, trust documents, etc.)
  • Notifying the bank about a death will initiate a freeze on the account. Payments going in or out of the account will no longer be allowed, so be sure to update utility or insurance companies so there isn’t a lapse in payments.
IMPORTANT: Close a bank account too soon and you risk being unable to access any money deposited afterwards. We generally encourage you to leave the account open until you are certain no funds will be deposited into the account.

Property & Cars

Effectively manage your assets and transfer deeds or titles as needed.

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Determine if you need to remove the deceased’s name from any deeds

Everything After Tip: Keeping the deed as is may be your best option, especially if you are registered as joint tenants or if the change will impact insurance or mortgages.

Get Guidance On Your Property

Transfer vehicle title and registration

Is the title a joint or single person title?

Select an option below

Joint Title

If there is an OR between the names, then you do not need to do anything and either party can sign. If there is an AND, you will want to remove the deceased’s name from the title by probate action or through a motor vehicle affidavit at the DMV. If AND/OR then the survivor may sign alone with proof of death.

Single Person Title

You must wait 30 days before filling out an Affidavit of Heirship for a Motor Vehicle at the DMV. All heirs will need to be named on the form, and they will need to be present to sign. Any lien on the vehicle will need to be released before the affidavit can be accepted.

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Credits & Debts

Find out who’s liable for debts and begin closing credit accounts.

Determine who is liable for any outstanding debts
  • Any debt due that the deceased is liable for will come out of the estate (There are some exceptions such as being a co-signer on a loan or joint account holder on a credit card)

    IMPORTANT: Creditors often imply that the survivor is responsible for a debt even when no legal obligation exists.
Close Credit Card Accounts
  • Immediately close all credit card accounts that list the decedent as the primary cardholder. For all joint accounts, the survivor can continue using their own card after destroying the decedent’s card.
  • Contact the credit card company to close an account. Explain that you need to report the death of the account holder and request that the account be closed. This will flag and freeze the account, and the account will be closed if no additional documentation is needed.

Taxes

Securing these documents and completing these essential tasks will help you be better prepared. Effectively manage your assets and transfer deeds or titles as needed.

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File an estate tax return

The law often requires an estate tax return to be filed within 9 months of death. This step is usually unnecessary if the decedent has not filed taxes for several years. In some cases, you may need to consult with a tax accountant or lawyer.

Everything After can walk you through whether you’ll need a tax accountant or lawyer to help settle the estate.

Find Out If You’ll Need a Tax Accountant
File an estate tax return
  • To claim a refund on behalf of the decedent, file IRS form 1310
If there is a trust, get an EIN immediately before moving any assets in or out of the trust.
  • An EIN, or Federal Tax or Employer Identification Number, may be needed for an estate, especially if assets are probated before being distributed.
  • The person applying for and using the EIN for an estate needs to be a representative of the estate or the executor appointed by the courts.
  • Apply for an EIN. To apply for an EIN, you’ll need access to the following information:
    • The legal name of the entity that needs the EIN
    • The mailing addresses for both the legal entity and the person authorized to request the EIN
    • The type of entity (i.e. corporation, partnership, LLC, trust, estate, etc.)
Locate recent income tax returns

Everything After Tip: Locating recent tax returns can clarify any income sources you may be unsure of. Skip this item if you already know all income sources.

Feeling Overwhelmed?
Try an Estate Closing Service

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