It can be difficult to know where to begin when you’re handling someone else’s financial affairs. Below you’ll find the answers to the most frequently asked questions, and we’re here to help in the branches or at (805) 543-1816 during this challenging time. We also recommend you contact your legal advisor for assistance, as needed.
Where Do I Even Start?
The following is a brief checklist for an executor or administrator in settling an estate. Please note that this is provided for general purposes only, not specific to SESLOC. It is not intended to be legal or any other advice. The material is provided solely on the basis that the user will take full responsibility for verifying the accuracy, current regulatory requirements, and completeness of all relevant statements. No one should act on any matter without due consideration, and if necessary, seeking appropriate advice based upon his or her own circumstances.
☐ Consult an attorney and certified tax professional about your exact duties as executor or administrator.
☐ File the Last Will and Testament and initiate probate or request the appointment as administrator.
☐ Request certified copies of the death certificate.
☐ Document the member’s assets and debts.
☐ Notify creditors.
☐ Retitle property, as necessary.
☐ Close credit union, bank, and brokerage account, and open an estate account.
☐ Locate insurance policies and file claims.
☐ File taxes.
☐ Close the estate accounts and distribute the remaining assets to beneficiaries.
Important Contact Info
- SESLOC Contact Center: (8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. PT Monday thru Friday and 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. PT Saturday) 805.543.1816
- Social Security Administration: 800-772-1213
- CUNA (Credit Life and Disability Insurance): 800-621-6323 | Claims: 800-621-6323
- US Bonds: 800-553-2663
- Department of Veteran’s Affairs: Benefits: 800-827-1000 | Life Insurance: 800-669-8477 | TDD: 800-829-4833 | www.va.gov
What do I need to provide to SESLOC?
Please provide the following:
- Personal information. The member’s full legal name and Social Security Number.
- Death Certificate. A certified copy of the death certificate is typically provided by the funeral home or by a local government agency that registers births, deaths, and marriages.
Additional U.S. court/probate documents we may require:
- Small Estate Affidavit. Typically provided by your legal advisor, this may be used to disburse an account when formal probate isn’t required. To obtain this form, please consult your personal legal advisor.
- Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration. Typically provided by your legal advisor, these are issued by the court when formal probate is required. Letters must be received within 60 days of original issuance by the court. To obtain this form, please consult your personal legal advisor.
- Certification of Trust. Typically provided by your legal advisor this is a short document signed by the trustee that simply states the trust’s essential terms and certifies the trust’s authority.
SESLOC does not accept wills or provide legal advice. We understand you may have questions and we encourage you to seek answers from a trusted legal professional.
Savings & Checking Accounts
How long will the member’s account(s) remain open?
We encourage you to close the accounts as soon as possible. SESLOC will continue to report earned interest to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) under the member’s social security number (SSN) until the accounts are closed. Taking quick action and closing the accounts will limit the complications associated with year-end reporting to the IRS caused by using the member’s SSN.
I have a check payable to the member, can I deposit it into the account?
Checks made payable to the member cannot be deposited into the account after the member’s death.
Checks payable to the member will need to be re-issued in the name of the Estate and must be deposited into an Estate Account. For specific guidance, contact us at 805.543.1816.
How do I manage existing direct deposits with SESLOC?
Contact the agencies or companies depositing the funds to determine what is required. Funds may need to be returned to the paying party. Please refer to the Important Phone Number section.
How do I claim survivor benefits with the Social Security Administration?
Call the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213 as soon as possible. Be prepared to provide the following:
- Member’s Social Security number
- Name of member’s last employer
- Certified copy of the death certificate
- Member’s most recent W-2 forms or self-employment tax return showing earnings
- Certified copy or original birth certificate of the spouse or any minor children
- Divorce papers if the surviving divorced spouse is applying for benefits
How do I find out if the member had automatic payments deducted from a checking account? How do I stop or change those payments?
As the executor or administrator of the estate, you may obtain copies of statements to review past account activity. If automatic payments are deducted from the member’s account(s), SESLOC can assist you with transferring or canceling the payments.
I am the Power-of-Attorney for the member, can I continue to use the account?
Unfortunately, no. You cannot act on someone’s behalf after they are deceased.
I am a joint owner with right of survivorship on the account and I have my own debit card, can I still use my card?
Yes. As the joint account holder, you retain access to funds. However, if the account was held under the deceased member’s social security number, close the joint account as soon as possible. Once the new individual account(s) is established, we can order you a replacement debit card.
I am a joint owner with right of survivorship on the SESLOC checking account, can I still write checks?
Yes. You have check writing authority while the joint checking account remains open, and funds are available in the account. If the account was held under the deceased member’s SSN, the account(s) must be closed and your new individual account(s) established. SESLOC will order new checks at no cost to you.
I am the executor of the estate. However, I am not a joint owner on the member’s account, and I am not a SESLOC member. Will I be able to access information on the account(s)?
Yes, but you must provide a certified copy of the death certificate and court documents stating you are the executor or administrator. After you provide these documents SESLOC can provide information about the member’s accounts.
I am the Successor Trustee of a Living Trust. Will I be able to access information on the account(s)?
Yes, but you must provide a certified copy of the death certificate and a Certificate of Trust (California Probate Code 18100.5). After you provide these documents SESLOC can provide information about the member’s accounts.
How do I establish an Estate Account?
SESLOC offers an easy way to separate estate holdings from the executor’s or administrator’s personal account by opening Estate Accounts. Estate Accounts come in the form of savings, checking, money market, and certificate of deposit accounts, and helps you manage the needs of the deceased’s estate during the estate settlement process.
What happens to Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs)?
SESLOC will contact the named beneficiary and begin the process of transferring IRA ownership. If no beneficiary was designated, SESLOC will work with the executor or administrator of the estate to transfer the IRA according to the terms of the IRA and in accordance with law.
If the member had a voluntary payment protection plan on their SESLOC loan and if qualified, we would apply any voluntary payment protection proceeds towards their loan balance as of the date of death.
This claim process is managed through a third party, CUNA. Once qualification is confirmed and a claim is filed, the estate will need to provide documentation to CUNA to receive payment on the claim. Once proceeds are received, they will be applied.
Deposit account balances may also be applied to an outstanding loan balance. Co-borrower(s), or the member’s estate, are responsible for repaying any outstanding loan balances.
The estate must directly pay off the remaining loan balances or provide SESLOC with the necessary documents to properly file a creditor’s claim against the estate.
I am a co-borrower on the SESLOC credit card. Can I continue to use the card?
Yes. However, if you are not a member you must establish SESLOC membership by opening a SESLOC share savings account so that the credit card may be moved to your new membership. As the borrower, you are responsible to repay any unpaid balance on the credit card (less any voluntary payment protection settlement). You are also responsible for any charges made after the date of death.
I am authorized to use the SESLOC credit card, but I am not a co-borrower. Can I continue to use the card?
No. Unfortunately, you are not authorized to use the credit card after the borrower’s death. You must either destroy or return your card to SESLOC.
First Mortgage Loans & Home Equity Loans
I am the co-borrower on the SESLOC Mortgage. What happens now?
Please contact the SESLOC Mortgage Department as soon as possible at 805.543.1816 Option 4.
What will happen to the SESLOC Home Equity Line of Credit Loan?
If the member was the sole borrower, SESLOC will close the limit, preventing further disbursements. If there is a co-borrower on the account, the co-borrower may continue to use the credit limit and will be responsible for paying any outstanding balance.
Will SESLOC require the mortgages to be refinanced?
If there’s a co-borrower on the loan, we do not require the mortgage to be refinanced. We will, however, need to move it to the co-borrowers account at SESLOC as soon as possible. If there are no other signers on the loan, the loan will need to remain on the existing account. The loan will need to be paid off, refinanced, or the property sold, as directed by the estate.
Should mortgage payments continue being made?
Generally, yes, payments should continue being made. However, each situation is unique. Contact the SESLOC Mortgage Department as soon as possible at 805.543.1816 Option 4.