Probate: Life Insurance, Annuities, Retirement Benefits and Social Security
Although life insurance, annuities, and retirement benefits pay directly to the named beneficiary, valuations are still required for estate inheritance tax purposes. The attorney will be able to assess whether any formal valuations, such as the IRS Form 712 for insurance proceeds, will be required depending on the size of the estate.
Either the Executor or the attorney can assist the beneficiaries of any life insurance policies, annuities or other retirement benefits with the claims process. This process varies greatly from company to company and the assistance of an experienced estate settlement attorney will many times speed the process.
Relative to Social Security benefits, most often, it is more convenient for the surviving spouse to handle the social security benefits claim process. The attorney can assist the surviving spouse by providing the documentation needed to process the claim. The Social Security Administration has a local office in New Bern, North Carolina, and a mobile satellite office that visits surrounding counties various days of the week. However, most claims can be processed over the telephone by calling 1-800-772-1213.
Next in our Probate series: Probate: Debates of Decedent and Claims Against the Estate