What to do when you lose a loved one

The loss of a loved one can be hard to bear. Even more so when you think about all the steps that follow for planning a funeral and getting financial and insurance affairs in order. When you’re ready, check out this checklist of items that may require action. 

Obtain a death certificate 

Obtaining a death certificate is a critical first step. It will allow you to complete many of the following steps. The funeral home you’re working with can get certified copies on your behalf. You can also contact your state office that specializes in vital records.

Update policies

If the deceased had life insurance, you’ll need to contact the insurance company and present a death certificate in order to enact the benefits. You’ll also want to let the company know to either remove their name from existing policies or get rid of the policies entirely. This step may require updating your own policies, if the loved one was listed under them. 

Notify the right people 

Certain institutions need to be aware of the passing, especially government agencies and credit agencies. Check with the social security administration to ensure they are aware of your loved one’s passing. You should also notify any other agencies that provided a benefit to your loved one, like Medicare, Veterans Affairs, etc. To help prevent identity theft, contact the major credit agencies including Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. You’ll need to present the death certificate to these institutions. Lastly, the Department of Motor Vehicles can cancel their license and voter registration, and the post office can help determine where to forward their mail. 

Prepare your own accounts

There is no greater wake-up call than the loss of a loved one. This life event may make you think about your own family, and the benefits or burdens that will come to them upon your end of life. You can help ensure they are financially prepared by adding or adjusting your own life insurance policy. No matter your age or health condition, it is always a good idea to have life insurance. It is also important to have some form of written will, as a way to ensure your loved ones receive your assets. 

Having someone to support you through this process will make it much easier. For insurance and financial advice, contact your trusted agent to help get you through this difficult season of life. 

Protect Your Identity with These Easy Tips

Last year, more than 1,200 security breaches exposed almost one-half million sensitive records, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center, reminding us all of the importance of keeping our personal and financial information safe. Here are a few tips to help you stay on alert when it comes to data breaches, scammers and others who may put your personal information at risk:

Be smart about passwords

When establishing accounts online, create complex passwords that would be hard to guess. If possible, include capital and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters. Be weary of using the same password for multiple online accounts; if a breach exposes your password on one site, hackers may be able to access other accounts using that same password. When possible, sign up for two-factor authentication, which requires a second verification from you (usually via phone, email or another method) that a scammer couldn’t replicate, even if they have your login and password information.

Verify requests

It’s unlikely a major company will randomly call or email to directly request personal information. Any requests for this information that seem outside of routine communication you expect from that company should be verified. If you receive a phone call or email request for this information, turn the tables and directly call or email an official representative to verify the request, and never share social security numbers or other sensitive information via unsecure email.

Beware of unknown links

If you encounter a suspicious looking email or text, don’t open it, don’t click on any unknown links and especially don’t send funds through it. If you do open and follow through with a phishing email, your computer or smartphone may be infected with malware and your personal information and funds could be stolen. A phishing email may appear to come from an official organization, but it will often include a spoof email address, urgent language or spelling errors.

Stay vigilant

Just like for your personal safety, simply staying aware of your surroundings is helpful in protecting your financial safety. Set up fraud alerts and check statements at least monthly to monitor for any unrecognized charges. If possible, enable mobile notifications for credit card charges, so you’ll know right away if one of your accounts has become compromised online.

To learn more about how OKFB Insurance protects our customers, talk with an agent today.