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This month, the "Tax" Tip is really in the nature of a helpful guidance tip.

In the event of the death of a family member, youíll be faced with many legal and financial requirements that can be psychologically overwhelming at a very delicate time. To meet these requirements, you will need to provide certain documents. Among them might be:

∑ Certified copies of the death certificate (at least 10). Obtain them from the funeral director or directly from the county Health Department (or similar title).

∑ Copies of all insurance policies. These may be in the deceased's safe deposit box or among his or her personal belongings. Obtain them from the deceasedís insurance broker or agent or directly from each insurance company. The insurance company should also provide Life Insurance Statement Form 712 for each policy.

∑ Social Security numbers of the deceased, his or her spouse, and any dependent children.

∑ Military discharge (if the deceased was a veteran). Obtain this from the Department of Defense, National Personnel Record Center, 9700 Page Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63132.

∑ Marriage certificate (if the spouse of the deceased will be applying for any benefits). Obtain this from the Office of the County Clerk where the marriage license was issued.

∑ Birth certificates of dependent children. Obtain these from either the State or the County Public Health offices where the child was born.

∑ Will.Obtain this from the deceasedís lawyer, safe deposit box or personal belongings. Wills are also sometimes filed with the local probate court before the deceasedís death.

∑ Complete list of all assets, including real estate, stocks, bonds, savings and checking accounts, IRA's, pensions, 401(k)s, annuities, stock options and other employee benefits, and personal property of the deceased.

TIP: If the death is expected, you should try to gather these papers in advance to lessen the strain at the time of death. Even where death seems in the distant future, it may be a good idea to have these documents on hand anyway. A good document locator system will help you better organize your affairs.

Please let me know if I can assist you in any way in gathering this information.


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