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Surviving Spouse's Action List

Introduction Immediately after the initial shock and grieving period of a death of a Spouse, it is important to begin the process of getting your life back on track. Being Prepared has helped you by having you store information that you will need during this transaction period. Now that you have this information, what do you do next? The Action List helps the surviving Spouse in developing a unique plan for the first 3060 days after a death that is specific to your and the deceaseds personal needs and requirements. This list is written for spouses but can be used by other family members as a guide where there is no spouse. Review the action plan items below. Please recognize that this list is not intended to be all inclusive and since everyones needs are unique and state laws differ. We recommend that you meet with a professional advisor, such as a financial planner or attorney, to help you create or pursue a specific action plan that is right for you. This list is also helpful for the surviving adult children of single parents. Action List

IMMEDIATELY UPON DEATH: Review the deceaseds "Final Desires and Instructions" contained within the Being Prepared Program. If not previously done, immediately provide all pertinent funeral information to the funeral director. Contact individuals listed in the deceaseds "Emergency Contact Information" contained within the Being Prepared Program. If there is a Will or other estate planning documents (Trusts etc), make copies and consider contacting an attorney to assist you. o If there is an executor of the will other than you, you should contact that person and open the lines of communications. An attorney can assist you in dealing with the executor. If you are the executor you will want to obtain written proof of your authority which are generally accepted by creditors and third parties. Some states call these Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration. An attorney can assist you in obtaining the probate of the will and related matters. Generally powers of attorney that exist, terminate at death. If there is no Will, your state law will provide for rules of inheritance. In such an event, you should consult with an attorney to assist you. Collect the information about your accounts, policies, assets, liabilities, and other items contained within the Being Prepared Program. You will use this information to locate and gather any additional records, documents and other important information needed. When you contact the institutions about these accounts for the deceased, you will need to have the death certificates and executor documents identified below. Request 10-12 death certificates. When making funeral arrangement ask for these from the funeral director. List bills that need to be paid (what/when/how) over the next 60 days. Note: Many bills are received via e-mail and are set up for automatic payment from checking accounts or paid from credit cards. Review all accounts to verify recent

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payments. Many statements are received via email and not standard mail. Funds in "joint accounts" are available immediately for paying bills, etc. Keep records and receipts of all transactions. Notify Social Security Administration of deceased's death. You should inquire about death benefits for you or minor children which are very limited. You should also inquire about spouses options regarding your benefit elections with respect to you deceased spouse. For accounts that are only in the deceaseds name consider closing them and moving any relevant funds to new accounts. For accounts, including bank accounts, where you are a joint account holder, it may not be necessary to change anything. You should consult a professional advisor to determine what is in your best interest. Contact any insurance and other companies, such as your mortgage company, that might have policies paying benefits upon death. These will include life insurance, annuities, credit life insurance, burial insurance. It is best to ask them in writing to provide you with all forms and requirements for filing and perfecting a claim if you or the estate is a beneficiary. Contact other insurance companies. This would include auto insurance, health insurance, disability insurance. You need to determine which policies you may want to keep in force such as auto. Your premiums should be adjusted. Be careful in health insurance, so as not to jeopardize your continue coverage. Contact the deceased's former employers regarding pension, deferred compensation and death benefits. If the deceased belonged to any unions, contact union management about possible benefits. Retired Military and Veterans Benefits should be addressed when applicable. Contact the proper authorities to understand the benefits that are available. If there are minor children you should obtain copies of their birth certificates and supply them to your attorney. Consult an attorney to determine if you state requires real property to be placed in the name of the surviving spouse. Rules on this vary from state to state. Be careful to protect the information you have from being prepared and be careful not to publish too much information on social media, and obituaries about the deceased. If it is near tax filing deadlines, be sure to understand what forms to file for the final tax return where the deceased is a filer. Review all subscriptions and memberships to determine which you may want to cancel. Finally review all of the information you and your spouse captured in the Being Prepared software. As to each and every item, determine if there is anything that needs to be done with respect to that item upon the death, in order to realize its value, transfer the ownership or control, maintain it, or pay or mitigate any liability.

Again, this list is solely intended as a guide to make you aware of the need to create an Action Plan specific to your unique needs. We recommend that you meet with a professional advisor, such as a financial planner or attorney, to help you with this effort.

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Financial Planning and Assessment Questions


It is recommended that you periodically review these questions to help you manage your finances. Each individuals needs are unique and require considerably more analysis than is addressed here. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you seek professional assistance where you think it would be helpful. 1. Am I taking full advantage of services offered by my various financial institutions and maximizing my benefits through the type of accounts I have? 2. Am I satisfied with my retirement planning? a. Am I maximizing my employer sponsored benefits? b. Is my level of other savings adequate to reach my goals? 3. Am I satisfied with my investments and investment strategy? a. Have I properly balanced the risk of those investments and the returns on those investments? b. Have I adequately taken into account the tax aspects of my investments? 4. Am I satisfied that I have protected my net worth from unreasonable risk through the use of insurance products? a. Do I have adequate insurance on my home and other personal property? b. Do I have adequate insurance if I am sued? 5. Have I provided for enough resources for my familys security in the event of my unexpected death or disability? a. Given my age health, and living standard, do I have life insurance and is it enough when combined with my other assets? b. Do I have disability insurance and is it adequate given my circumstances? 6. Have I provided a will and other estate planning devices that are adequate to carry out my wishes and have I done the proper estate tax planning? 7. Do I have satisfactory health insurance, and other health related insurance plans? 8. Have my health circumstances changed such that I need to review my need for a living will/medical directives and related matters? BEING PREPARED can be a simple and valuable tool in preparing for planning sessions. It can help you create an estimate of your assets, liabilities, retirement income, insurance benefits and other items. While the value of some of these items may change frequently, assigning a balance or value for all items around planning time allows you to use your Summary File to help create a snapshot of your financial position that is often sufficient for use in discussions with professional advisors.

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Emergency Evacuation Plans


A major benefit of BEING PREPARED is its portability in case of an emergency evacuation. Of course, being prepared for such an emergency goes beyond protecting you important information. You need a plan of action in the event that you are forced to evacuate your residence. What you are able to do in that evacuation will depend upon how much time you have. It is recommended that you have a detailed plan and be prepared to implement it. Creating such a plan is beyond the scope of this program. There are, however, two major areas you need to address when making your emergency evacuation plan. First, you need to have a predetermined evacuation route, unique to your location and means of transportation. You should secure evacuation route information from your local authorities. Second, identify the critical items that you will take with you. If you decide to have a detailed written checklist and plan, it is recommended that you scan a copy and place it in the program File Cabinet. Most plans suggest that you take certain items with you. It is best that you collect such items long before they are needed and have them in a container and ready to go. Doing so will save valuable time. In the event you have to leave in a hurry, take all of those items along with a copy of your BEING PREPARED My-Data Folder and the Program CD. Hopefully, you will also have already electronically stored your BEING PREPARED My-Data Folder at a remote location prior to an emergency evacuation so that you can access it from that location if needed. Below are sample websites for FEMA and three states (Florida, New Jersey and Texas) that provide examples of information available on the Internet.

http://www.fema.gov/plan/prepare/evacuation.shtm http://www.floridadisaster.org/publicmapping/index.htm http://www.state.nj.us/njoem/plan/evacuation-routes.html http://www.state.tx.us/portal/tol/en/emergency/evacuating

IMPORTANT NOTE: Because websites can be removed over time, the websites listed above may not be available. You should research the Internet using search engines, such as Google or Bing, to find pertinent information about your specific location regarding evacuation planning ideas, evacuation routes, and other information.

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