Claiming Death Benefits in the Bay Area

The death of a loved one is one of the most difficult experiences to deal with in life. What makes the situation even harder is the financial aspect that accompanies funeral and burial expenses. Money is often the last thing grieving families want to think about but, unfortunately, expenses related to death must be paid fairly soon after a loved one has passed. This is especially true if the deceased was the main provider of income for the family and the family needs some assets to make it through until other arrangements can be made. Luckily, there are ways to receive death benefits quickly to help pay for these end-of-life expenses and hopefully bring some small comfort to families during their time of need.

Life insurance and annuities can usually be collected quickly since these types of policies and accounts need to have a beneficiary named and any asset that names a beneficiary does not need to go through the probate process. Typically, the companies holding the policies and accounts need a certified death certificate in order to start the process of releasing the assets but many forms from the companies must be filled out. It may be wise to consult with a Bay Area probate attorney to make sure the forms are filled out correctly so the assets can be claimed as soon as possible.

Social Security benefits, such as a death benefits or monthly survivor benefits, can be claimed quickly after a loved one’s passing and will go to a surviving spouse or dependent children, if any. These benefits are relatively easy to receive but certain eligibility requirements must be met such as age or disability. If you are unsure whether you meet the requirements to receive Social Security death and/or survivor benefits, please contact a probate attorney in the Bay Area as soon as possible because some survivor benefits from Social Security are not retroactive if they are claimed after a certain amount of time has passed since death.

There are also benefits available from the VA for the spouses of veterans. Once again, these benefits are relatively easy to claim but certain eligibility requirements must be met. An experienced Bay Area probate lawyer should be able to advise you as to what you need to do in order to claim veteran’s death benefits.

If you have a loved one who has recently passed and need assistance getting death benefit, or if you’d like to make sure your benefit policies are in order for when the time comes, please give our Bay Area probate law firm a call at (650) 422-3313 or send us an email at to set up a consultation to see how we may help you.

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  • American Academy

    Elder Counsel