Checklist – What to do in the event of a death

Checklist – What to do in the event of a death

You have lost someone dear to you. As next of kin, you will have to deal with a number of administrative formalities in a short space of time. Certain other items can be postponed for the time being. But what if you don't know where to start?

Checklist - What to do in the event of a death

Our checklist will help you map out the action points that are relevant to you.

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Confirmation of the death

All deaths must be officially confirmed by a doctor, who is responsible for drafting the death certificate.

Add to checklist Have the death confirmed by a doctor

Funeral

The undertaker will help you to make all the practical arrangements for the funeral. You will need a list of addresses for the people you want to invite. Remember to choose readings, music, photos, etc.

Add to checklist Contact an undertaker

Civil status

The municipality in which the person died will make an entry in the death registry. You will receive a statement of this. You should also ask for a number of copies at this point, as you will need them to inform various authorities.

In practice, the undertaker will take care of the declaration. If the death takes place at hospital or in a care institution, the responsible person at that institution will often make the declaration.

Add to checklist Ask the undertaker or the responsible person at the hospital to provide you with statements from the death registry

Bank and insurance company

In order to quickly settle the deceased person's banking and insurance affairs, it is important for the death to be reported to the person's banks and insurance companies as soon as possible.

Make yourself known as next of kin. This is needed in order to be added as a possible heir in the estate file.

Add to checklist Report the death to banks and insurance companies
Add to checklist Register yourself as next of kin

Notary-public

The appointment of a notary-public is mandatory whenever a will, a pre-nuptial agreement or an heir who lacks the legal capacity to act is involved.

The notary-public can also help to determine who the heirs are, submit a tax return and/or distribute the estate.

Add to checklist Appoint a notary-public

Employer or pension provider

If the deceased person was still working, you should inform their employer of their death as soon as possible.

If the person was self-employed, you should contact their accountant as they can help you to inform all of the necessary authorities.

If the deceased person was your spouse, then under certain conditions you may have the right to a survivor's pension.

Add to checklist Inform the deceased person's employer
Add to checklist Inform the deceased person's accountant
Add to checklist Check with the pension provider whether you are eligible for a survivor's pension

Children

In the event of the death of one or both of their parents, dependent children may have the right to increased child benefit in the form of the so-called orphan benefit. The National Companies Register will automatically inform the child benefit fund of the death, and the increased benefit will be paid from the month following the death onwards.

You should inform the children's school, college or university. The educational institution will often provide additional guidance and support.

Dependent children may have the right to an increased educational grant in the event of the death of one of their parents. The educational institution will provide you with more information about this.

Pets

If you are unable to look after the deceased person's pets, you should look for a suitable home for them.

If the animal is registered in the deceased person's name (for example with a microchip or tattoo), you should arrange to have its identification details modified.

Add to checklist Check whether you are entitled to increased child benefit
Add to checklist Are you entitled to increased child benefit? Check whether you are receiving it
Add to checklist Inform the educational institution of the death
Add to checklist Find out whether you are entitled to an (increased) educational grant
Add to checklist Find a home for any pets

Salaries and other remuneration

When an employed person dies, their salary, holiday pay, thirteenth month and other remuneration will generally still need to be paid out. Supplementary compensation will also be paid out in the event of an accident at work or on the way to work. Some employers will even help cover the funeral expenses.

Contact the employer to find out whether or not the deceased person was registered for group insurance, and if so, inform the insurance company involved. They will pay out the capital and/or interest to those entitled to it.

Replacement income

If the deceased person received a replacement income, you should report their death to the institution paying out that replacement income. This might be the unemployment insurance fund, the health insurance fund or the OCMW (the Public Centre for Social Welfare). The replacement income of the surviving partner may be adjusted as a result of the death.

Funeral insurance

Check whether or not the deceased person had funeral insurance. This can significantly reduce the cost of the funeral. At KBC, you can submit invoices for funeral expenses up to 40 days after the funeral takes place.

Trade union

Most trade unions will pay for a share of the funeral or cremation expenses.

Health insurance fund

The health insurance fund will generally pay out compensation for funeral or cremation expenses. As a widow or widower, you may have the right to increased compensation for health-care costs.

Add to checklist Ask the employer about any remuneration that has not yet been paid out
Add to checklist Find out whether the deceased was subscribed to a group insurance policy
Add to checklist Inform the insurance company with whom the deceased person took out their group insurance
Add to checklist Report the death to the institution paying out the replacement income
Add to checklist Submit the funeral invoice to the insurance company
Add to checklist Check whether the trade union will contribute to the funeral or cremation expenses
Add to checklist Get in touch with the health insurance fund

Real estate

If the the deceased person owned their own home, you can sell it or allow it to be occupied by a next of kin. If the deceased person rented their home, the tenant's rights and obligations are transferred to their heirs, unless otherwise specified in the lease contract.

You should also decide what should happen to any second homes, garages and/or student rooms.

If the deceased person rented out a property, the landlord's rights and obligations are transferred to their heirs, unless otherwise specified in the lease contract.

Utilities

Utilities such as water, gas, electricity, telephone, TV and internet will remain payable after death. You should report the death to any utility companies sending correspondence addressed to the deceased person. You should also decide whether or not you will personally take over the utilities, terminate the contracts, or opt for the tariffs for vacant property.

Maintenance contracts

You should contact the appropriate suppliers in order to terminate any contracts relating to the maintenance of the deceased person's home – such as any cleaners with service vouchers, a boiler maintenance contract, etc. This will prevent them from being tacitly renewed.

Add to checklist Decide what should happen to the family home, second home, garage, etc.
Add to checklist Put the family home, second home, garage, etc. up for sale
Add to checklist Check the provisions of the lease contract(s) and discuss how to settle these with the owner/tenant
Add to checklist Arrange for post to be forwarded to another address
Add to checklist Decide what should happen to any properties being rented out
Add to checklist Decide what should happen regarding water, gas, electricity, etc. and notify the relevant suppliers
Add to checklist Terminate any maintenance contracts

Expenses

There are often a number of fixed costs to meet, such as subscriptions to newspapers or magazines, memberships in clubs and associations, etc. These contracts are often paid by means of a direct debit or a standing order. It is best to cancel these as soon as possible. In some cases, you may be able to recover a proportion of the membership or subscription fees that have already been paid. You may also be able to take the contract over.

Add to checklist Decide what should happen regarding fixed expenses
Add to checklist Take over any subscriptions or memberships and adjust the associated direct debit or standing order
Add to checklist Cancel any subscriptions or memberships and their associated direct debits and standing orders
Add to checklist Cancel any other periodic orders and payments

Vehicle

As an heir, you have the right to take over or sell any vehicle registered under the name of the deceased person.

Add to checklist Decide what should happen to the deceased person's vehicle
Add to checklist Get in touch with the Vehicle Registration Office (DIV) in order to return or transfer the registration plate
Add to checklist Get in touch with the insurance company in order to cancel or take over the car insurance policy

Estate

If the deceased person has not left a will, the heirs will be determined according to succession law.

You can either accept the inheritance or estate, reject it, or accept it subject to an inventory. If you accept the estate, you must declare it to the tax authorities. The tax authorities will use this declaration to determine how much inheritance tax you must pay.

The bank can only release the deceased person's accounts and safe deposit boxes once it has submitted its own tax return and once all the heirs have been identified, when there are no social security or tax liabilities, and the heirs are agreed on the asset distribution.

Add to checklist Check whether or not the deceased person made a will
Add to checklist Ask for a deed or certificate of succession
Add to checklist Decide whether you will accept the inheritance, reject it, or accept it subject to an inventory
Add to checklist Submit your tax return
Add to checklist Decide how to distribute the inheritance together with all the other heirs
Add to checklist Pay inheritance tax

Tax return

A final personal tax return must be submitted on behalf of the deceased person.

Add to checklist Submit a tax return on behalf of the deceased person

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