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What to do after losing a loved one to a fatal car or truck crash

Most Connecticut residents feel tremendous empathy for anyone who has lost a loved one in a fatal car or truck accident. The pain and anguish that the surviving family members experience can be indescribable. However, they still must carry on with their lives and take care of the necessary tasks for their deceased family member. So, here are a few practical tips for surviving family members that may help them prepare and tend to the practical legal matters after the death of a loved one.

It's imperative for survivors to first get themselves organized. Setting up a mail and phone system to take care of incoming calls and mail can help. Organizing a filing system for government benefits, estate records and credit card accounts can help as well. Making a phone list by simply writing down a list of names and numbers of friends, advisors and organizations can help save time. It's also important to assess one's income and expenses for the next month or so.

Another important step is to gather all of the important papers that are needed so that the loved one's estate can be finalized and important survivor benefits can be applied for. These include copies of the death certificate, insurance policies, social security numbers, marriage certificate, will and lists of assets. Once these papers have been gathered, the survivors should contact agencies such as insurance companies and the Social Security department. And if the fatal car accident occurred while the loved one was on the job, the surviving family should also look into potential worker's compensation benefits.

Two additional areas for survivors to look into after the loss of a loved one are taxes and changing the ownership on property. Taxes are an important area because the death of a loved one can complicate income and estate taxes. And it is important to change ownership on property, cars, bank accounts and credit cards so that the survivors can continue to use these assets.

Facing the loss of a loved one in a fatal car or truck accident can be a monumental task. However, if the victim's family members believe that someone else's caused the accident, they may want to seek advice from an experienced wrongful death attorney to fully understand their legal options.

Source: Trucksafety.org, "Practical tips for survivors", Accessed July 20, 2015

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