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Applying for Benefits

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Navigating benefits amidst your grief

You may feel uncomfortable exploring benefits so soon after a loved one has died. However, benefits are often an important way to help relieve your financial burden, and your loved one earned them to continue supporting you even now.

Understanding Social Security survivor benefits

Though it is not a large amount of money, Social Security survivor benefits are an important source of support for many families after they lose a loved one. Eligibility can be complex, but it is worth discovering if you qualify.

How to claim benefits

There are several different kinds of benefits you may be eligible for after your loved one passes away. Two of the most common are life insurance and Social Security survivors benefits. The process of claiming each is rather straightforward.

Loss is hard. Its vocabulary shouldn’t be.

We speak the specialized language of estates and funerals so you don’t have to.


The person appointed by the court to handle the estate of someone who dies without a will.

The duties of an administrator are similar to those of an executor, but as there is no will to execute, he or she is named administrator and distributes assets according to a procedure dictated by state law.


The sum total of someone’s net worth, including all assets. From a legal standpoint, an estate is not simply everything the person owns, but the value of all of these assets minus any debts or other liabilities. Estates are calculated differently depending on their purpose.
For example, the taxable estate may include assets that are not in the probate estate.


A service held to commemorate someone’s life. Memorials are generally considered distinct from funerals in that they are held without the body present and are not focused on the burial, although services where the urn with the loved one’s ashes is present are also called memorials. Traditionally, a funeral is a more formal service while memorials are often more unstructured.

To see the full glossary