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What to do when a loved one dies

Losing a spouse or another loved one is among the most difficult challenges any of us will face. Let us help you ease the shock and confusion by preparing you to handle your loved one's financial affairs.

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When You Lose a Loved One

We understand how tough it can be to make decisions while mourning the loss of someone you love. That’s why we recommend that you and your loved ones take steps in advance to ensure your financial affairs are in order. We'll review your loved one's wishes to help you determine what is best for you and other family members or heirs.

Being Prepared

Ensure you fulfill the wishes of someone you love.

Notice of death

You might need a legal pronouncement of death if no doctor is present. If a do-not-resuscitate document is in force, have it available so that emergency medical personnel know they should transport to an emergency room without starting emergency procedures.

Organ donation

If your loved one wanted to be an organ donor, it's important to start the donation process immediately. If you are unsure, check a driver’s license or an advance directive like a living will or medical power of attorney. Contact a hospital immediately if organs are to be donated. If your loved one died in a hospital, such directives should be in their file and the staff will initiate action.

Contact family members

Inform family members and key people as soon as possible, especially if the death was sudden and/or unexpected. Enlist the help of family or friends to notify everyone in a timely fashion.


Secure your loved one's home and property and make sure any pets, if any, are cared for.


Carry out your loved one’s wishes for a funeral or memorial. If their preferences are unknown, work with close family members and/or friends to determine what would be best.

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Who to Notify

  • Your loved one’s employer
  • The post office
  • Banks and financial institutions
  • Professionals such as attorneys, insurance agents, financial advisors and accountants
  • Local Social Security office
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Gather Documents

  • Request multiple copies of a death certificate, usually through a funeral home or local municipality. Request at least ten copies for financial institutions, government agencies and insurance purposes.
  • Locate the person’s will or trust documents, safety deposit box (if applicable), and all other financial documents including birth, marriage and divorce certificates, Social Security card, mortgages, loan documents, vehicle titles, insurance policies, credit cards, bank, investment and retirement accounts, and tax records.
  • Make a list and gather invoices for regular expenses like utilities, phone, cable, internet and insurance.
  • Determine whether there is a list of account passwords so that authorized users can gain access.

Have a plan in place

Creating a plan outlining your wishes can ease the burden for your surviving loved ones.

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Draw up a will.

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Prepare your advance directives.

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Gather documents that detail all of your wishes well before you approach retirement age.

We can help you get there

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Estate Planning

An estate plan identifies the right people to help make decisions for you in the case of incapacity or for others in the case of guardianship. It will also determine a trustee to execute your plan.

LEARN MORE about estate planning.
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Establish Your Legacy

Determine what story you want your wealth to tell about you and your family. If your financial plan indicates that you have more than necessary for a lifetime of financial independence, your wealth can be used now to create your legacy.

LEARN MORE about family wealth planning.
Gabby Martini
Gabby Martini, Senior Relationship Banker, Kenosha, WI

Your Trusted Partner for Life's Biggest Moments

No matter what financial needs you may have, we're here for you. Our experienced advisors work closely with you to build the right path to help you achieve your goals.

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