Death and finances: 5 things to do to settle the affairs of a loved one

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Losing a loved one is never easy. Seeing to it that your loved one’s financial and personal obligations are taken care of after death can be a complicated matter. If the deceased died intestate (without a will), or if you were named as the legal representative, you may have to handle these yourself. The following is a list that can help you identify some of these matters and guide you in the process:

  1. Get a death certificate

    To claim death benefits, cancel pensions and identification, and manage other personal finances of the deceased, you will need a death certificate. If the death occurred in Manitoba, you can request this from the Vital Statistics Agency. If your loved one died abroad, the certificate must be requested from the country where it took place. Getting several copies may be best. You will need them for several agencies/institutions to simultaneously process claims or cancellations.

  2. Notify agencies/institutions for claims and cancellations of benefits:

    Pensions and benefits to cancel or to apply for death/survivor benefits:

  3. Notify the deceased’s place of work or school.

    If he/she was renting a home, also notify the landlord.

  4. Cancel utilities (e.g. Manitoba Hydro, Post Office, etc.), subscriptions and Personal Identification.

    Cancelling personal identification can help prevent their fraudulent use:

    • Passport
    • Citizenship/Permanent Resident Card – Contact the IRCC Call Centre Services.
    • Manitoba Health Card – inform the Insured Benefits Branch (Registration and Client Services).
    • Driver’s Licence – visit or contact your Autopac agent or contact Manitoba Public Insurance at 204-985-7000 (Winnipeg) or toll free at 1-800-665-2410.
    • Social Insurance Number – you are required to inform the SIN program only if the death occurred in one of the territories or outside Canada. If the death occurred in a province, notification of death is received electronically from the provincial statistics agency.
  5. Financial checklist.

    Aside from government death benefits, your loved one may have had insurance coverage or investments, savings and debts:

    • Insurance company
    • Company Pension Plan
    • Check:
      • Land titles/Property deeds
      • Mortgage payments
      • Rent payments
    • Savings – banks and credit unions each have their own policies when dealing with a deceased customer’s bank account. The important thing is to inform the bank or credit union right away. They will inform you of other requirements (e.g. death certificate, special forms and documents) moving forward.
    • Investments
      • Stocks
      • Shares
    • Debts
      • Credit cards – each credit card issuer has its own policies on card cancellation. The first step is to inform customer care. They may ask for the deceased’s name, contact information and date of death to deactivate the card so that no further transactions are allowed and to cancel further annual fees. To cancel the card, the death certificate is required. The remaining credit will be handled separately in cooperation with the executor or representative (which could be you) handling the deceased’s assets.
      • Loan payments
      • Utility bills


Sources:
Following a death (Service Canada), Credit card.ca, Dealing with death (Manitoba Government)

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Read What to do when you lose a loved one in MB.

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