While we have tried to answer all of your questions, we are sure you may have more. We feel we are always better able to serve you by speaking directly. Please always feel free to contact us or call us at (203) 562-8244 or learn about some frequently asked questions we receive for Jewish customs, understanding expenses, or pre-planning.
Contact the agents of all insuring companies as soon as possible. Agents will supply the necessary claim forms. All policies should be closely examined with agents–including lapsed policies–to check for any extended coverage. Any survivor’s life insurance policies, which name the decedent as a beneficiary, should be changed.
Any titled automotive vehicle, such as a car, truck or recreational vehicle, becomes part of the estate when the decedent is the sole owner. Contact your Division of Motor Vehicles for information regarding the transfer of title.
A bank account in the decedent’s name may require probate action or a consent to transfer from a government agency. Some banks may permit a release from smaller accounts for the payment of funeral expenses. Consult an attorney concerning the legalities of a survivor withdrawing from a joint account. Safety deposit boxes may be accessible if held jointly or to the decedent’s estate executor.
Promptly contact issuing brokers. Stocks & bonds held solely in the decedent’s name must generally be probated; those owned jointly can be transferred to the surviving owner. Savings bonds held in the sole name of the decedent must generally be probated. Bonds may be transferred to a named survivor, subject to estate taxes.
Consult employers regarding the status of retirement plans, survivor benefits and claim forms required. If the decedent was paying into an IRA–if self-employed or without an employer’s pension plan–the amount in the account will go to the beneficiaries. Consult the agent, attorney, banker, broker or planner handling the IRA.
Real Estate jointly held by a husband & wife is automatically transferred to the surviving spouse. Property, which is solely in the decedent’s name, or owned jointly by the decedent & a party other than the surviving spouse, may require probate action whether or not a will exists. Consult your attorney for further clarification.