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No words can describe the impact of a death in family. As survivors move on with their lives there are a number of things to consider:
  1. Will - If the deceased person was a major, the first thing to do is locate his/her will and ensure that all last rites are performed per the wishes outlined in the will.
  2. Health Insurance - If the deceased person was enrolled in a group health insurance plan at work his/her family can continue the same health coverage per COBRA rules for up to 36 months. However, they will have to pay the entire (unsubsidized) health premium.. This premium is typically equal to what employer pays + the contribution of a regular employee + additional 2% administrative fee. This may still be cheaper than what would be available otherwise(note: same-sex spouses, domestic partners, and civil union partners are not entitled to continuation coverage rights under COBRA. However, some employers offer partners medical, dental and employee assistance program continuation coverage similar to that provided under COBRA)
  3. Life Insurance - The majority of life insurance benefits are available tax free (so long as the premium was paid from after tax dollars) to the surviving beneficiaries. To claim these benefits, the beneficiary must mail in an original death certificate. In some cases, employers have insured their employees without their knowledge so make sure your loved one was not also covered under a group policy at work.
  4. Business Travel - If a person dies while traveling on business, the surviving beneficiaries may be eligible for benefits from business travel accident insurance.
As with other life events, review your Will and trust documents for appropriate beneficiary changes.