What To Do When Your Loved One Passes Away
A death in the family, especially of a close relative, is very rough for anyone to deal with. Handling funeral arrangements and dealing with a loved one’s personal effects/estate is a lot of detail and paperwork to focus on during a stressful and emotional time. One of the last things people in that situation want to think about is home insurance.
While I regularly get calls from someone wanting to make sure the home of their parent who has passed away remains insured until it is sold, rented, or taken over by another family member, often, that concern gets lost or delayed by the grief and turmoil that surrounds a death. Difficulties arise when a house is left vacant for an extended period of time, or the wrong policy is in place, or the wrong name is on the insurance.
If you are handling a deceased loved one’s affairs and/or are the executor of the estate, it will fall on you to make sure the home remains safe and properly insured until it has been sold, or if you intend to rent it or take over living in it. It is vital that you find out who insures the home and inform them of your situation as soon as possible to ensure necessary corrections are made to the policy.
Here are some things to keep in mind as executor before a death occurs.
Have a copy of the person’s will and executor of estate documents in your possession. All insurance companies will require this as proof (along with a death certificate) that you are the responsible party and authorized to cancel or rewrite the policy as needed, and get any refund issued.
Consider adding your name to the title of the home and subsequently as a second name insured/additional insured on the homeowner’s policy. Be sure to check with an agent to verify what that company will need specifically to do this. Keep in mind this does not mean the policy will remain in force as is, but it can simplify the process of making necessary changes. Each company has their own rules and regulations to follow in these situations, so, again, be sure to verify this all with the agent.
It may be a lot to think about, but by having an idea of what will be needed to take care of things in the event of a family death will at least help you be aware and prepared. None of us can ever be truly ready to lose someone we love, but by making sure that someone’s affairs are handled as they wish and making sure their home is safe and secure after their death, seems like a good way to honor the life they led while they were with you.