21 June 2018
Who to contact in the event of death?
The loss of a loved one is difficult enough. We help relieve the administrative burden with practical information about who to inform and other steps to take.
What does the undertaker do?
- provides all the necessary help concerning the administrative measures that must be taken.
- normally ensures that the death is reported to the municipal authorities.
- organises the funeral, following any wishes of the deceased. Unless they have been previously organised, the family of the deceased decides on the funeral arrangements.
A number of documents are needed to report the death to the municipal authorities:
- the death certificate issued by the doctor
- the identity card and any driving licence of the deceased
- any marriage certificate
A death has immediate important consequences for the relationship with the bank. The bank (or banks) at which the deceased's assets are held must be informed of the death as quickly as possible by the spouse, a family member or the notary. The assets comprise:
- savings books
- securities portfolios
- a safe hired at a bank
- the securities held by the deceased
Although the situation is stressful and upsetting, a large number of practical tasks need to be carried out. Under these circumstances, the assistance of a notary will be very welcome. From both a civil and a tax viewpoint, it is also advisable to place settlement of an estate in the hands of a notary.
What action is taken by the notary?
- finds out whether there is a will and, if so, what sort of will.
establishes the order of succession:
- The notary seeks out the heirs and establishes the terms and conditions of succession.
- As an attentive and objective adviser, the notary ensures that the procedures are followed correctly.
A will also frequently contains the wishes of the deceased concerning his/her own funeral. It is therefore useful to have the will before starting to organise the funeral.
Before executing this deed, the notary must obtain the following documents:
- the death certificate;
- the marriage certificate and a copy of any antenuptial settlement;
- full identity details of the heirs;
- a copy of the will or gifts;
The insurance company(ies) must also be informed quickly of the death. It is also important to find out quickly about the insurance policies were held by the deceased, with which companies. There may be a large number of such policies:
- account insurance
- debt balance insurance
- guaranteed income insurance
- life insurance
- group insurance
- home and family blanket insurance
- pension savings
- death insurance
- civil liability insurance
- personal accident insurance
- any domestic employees insurance
- unit-linked insurance (at least seven packages available from ING Insurance), etc.
If the deceased was self-employed, there will also be professional liability insurance.
From the employer to the health insurance fund
If the deceased was still in paid employment at the time of death, the employer must be informed immediately. Payment of salary is terminated at the date of death. If the deceased received unemployment or social security benefits, the unemployment fund or CPAS/OCMW must be informed as soon as possible.
The pension fund and NISSE (for the self-employed)
They will normally be informed by the municipal authorities for the place of residence.
The child benefit fund
If a parent dies, the surviving parent may be entitled to increased orphans' allowance. To establish eligibility for this, the child benefit fund of the deceased or the deceased's spouse must be informed. If one of the two spouses is or was a public servant, the National Employees' Child Benefit Service must be informed.
The health Insurance fund
The health insurance fund with which the deceased was registered must also be informed of the death, regardless of whether the deceased was a holder or beneficiary.
Car insurance and DIV
The death must certainly also be reported to the company(ies) insuring the deceased's vehicle(s). The vehicle number plate must be returned to the DIV (Vehicle Registration Directorate).
If the deceased rented his/her home, you should not forget to inform the landlord. The lease will not be automatically terminated on the death of the tenant. This will only occur after a period of notice or by mutual agreement between the deceased's spouse or the successors in title and the landlord. Any deposit must also be returned at that time, usually after having been blocked in an account with a financial institution.
Friends, acquaintances, debtors, creditors, etc.
Despite the stressful nature of the situation, you should also not forget to inform anyone the deceased cared about and also the deceased's creditors.