Losing a Loved One

Sad older woman

It’s hard to think about anything when your heart hurts.

If you’ve recently lost a loved one, finances are probably the last thing you want to think about. Take the time to grieve, and let us know when we can help you get some things taken care of.

If your loved one had accounts at Linn Area Credit Union, let us know when you’re ready and we will help you figure out how to handle them. Either call the Credit Union and ask for a financial counselor or stop by any of our branches. There is a list of common questions at the bottom of this page that might help you out.

Financial Planning for Survivors

After a loved one passes on, there are a number of issues to be resolved. If the deceased was a key provider, you may be worried about how the loss of income will affect you and your family. Is there life insurance? Who are the listed beneficiaries? What about jointly held property and other assets? If no beneficiaries are named, these assets may simply become part of the estate. If you have questions, we will do our best to answer them or point you in the right direction to find your answers.

Social Security has a great website resource with advice for survivors. You’ll want to read the Survivor’s Planner and you can apply for survivor benefits on this site (especially important for young families with children).

BENEFICIARY REQUIRED MINIMUM DISTRIBUTIONS CALCULATOR – Use this calculator to determine your Required Minimum Distributions (RMD) as a beneficiary of a retirement account.

Estate Resolution

Hopefully the deceased has left a valid and up-to-date will and named an executor. If so, the most important first step is to contact the executor and notify them. If there is no will – or if you’ve been named executor – it’s usually advisable to contact a lawyer as soon as possible. Even before the will can be executed, a final income tax return must be completed for the deceased. The final return must account for all assets of the deceased, and taxes must be paid on any capital gains accrued on those assets. Given the possible complexities of a final tax return, it may be a good idea to have a tax accountant complete it. With this finished, the total value of the estate can be calculated and the will can be executed.

Common Questions

  • My spouse has just passed away – can I continue to use my checking account? Yes, as long as the account is owned jointly by you both.
  • And, if so, for how long? If you are primary and the account is reported under your social security number, there are no changes needed other than removing your spouse’s name from the account when you are comfortable doing so. If your spouse was the primary owner and the account is under their social security number, you will want to get the account closed or changed to your name and social security number prior to the end of the year.
  • What type of documentation does Linn Area need when a member passes away? We will need to see an original death certificate, and we will take a copy of it for our records.
  • How do I go about having a deceased joint owner’s name removed from my account? Or do I have to close that account and open a new one? Once we are presented with the original death certificate, we can decide which route is the best for your circumstances.
  • My relative has died and does not have a joint owner on his or her account. What needs to be done and who needs to do it? We will check to see if a beneficiary has been named on the account. If no one has been named then the executor will need to present executor papers and an original death certificate. The account will be frozen at the time of death and no further business should be transacted with the account. An estate account can be set up at this time to handle any unfinished business.
  • What type of documentation do I need to bring in when a loved one has passed away? We will need to see an original death certificate and depending on the account ownership you may need a copy of the will or executor papers from the court.
  • What is an estate account and do I need one? An estate account is set up by an executor to make sure any unfinished business or the final bequests in the will are carried out as requested. It enables the executor to liquidate and deposit any proceeds in preparation of settling an estate.
  • Who can open an estate account? The executor who is stated in the will or appointed by the court.  You will need to bring a copy of the will or appointment papers and an original death certificate. If they are not currently a member, we will also need verification of the social security number of the person the estate is being set up for.
  • Who can get into a deceased person’s safe deposit box and what’s the process? If the box has a joint owner, the remaining owner has immediate access to the box. If the box is held in the deceased’s name alone, we can let a family member in along with a credit union representative in order to look for a will upon presenting an original death certificate and the keys. Once a will is found or an executor is appointed by the courts, the executor will have access to the box.
  • How do I find out if there’s a beneficiary on the account? You can contact any office and we can look the information up for you.
  • If there is a beneficiary what process needs to happen before Linn Area gives them the funds in the account? We will need to see an original death certificate and a valid picture ID. Once these are presented, we can issue a check directly to the beneficiary.

Ask Us for Help

With the loss of a loved one, you may feel that you’re alone. The fact is, your community is full of people and organizations that offer help and support. All you need to do is ask. From executing a will to supporting non-profit organizations that counsel the bereaved, Linn Area Credit Union is here to help you find the resources that will help you through this difficult time.