What to do if you or someone you know, who is a dependent, has just lost a parent/guardian
This has been an extremely heartbreaking post to write, but seeing the influx of youngsters losing their parents so early prompted me to compile this. A lot of information has been taken from earlier comments from Redditors, namely u/learner1205 u/sameera_rb u/justanotheryoungling u/an_iconoclast, and many others.
It is possible that I may have made errors in compilation so please feel free to correct me or add on below. Please feel free to suggest NGOs below as well.
Paperwork, documentation, and financials
If you can afford a lawyer, you can go through them to get all this done. Or else, take a trustworthy family member/friend’s help. Otherwise, it is possible to do it by yourself.
- Medical certificate from the hospital stating name, time, cause of death, etc.
- Slip/receipt from the cremation ground/“shanti ghat”
- Death certificate: You can get a death certificate from your local municipality office/online (according to some State govt. systems) on submission of the above two documents (Medical certificate, and the slip from the cremation ground).
You have to specify to the municipal office the no. of copies of the (original) death certificate you want. According to u/learner1205, 30 is more than sufficient.
- Try to obtain a Legal Heir certificate from the same local municipality office. The certificate lists all the dependents and any settlement/claims made will require this.
- Enquire about EPFO savings (Employees Provident Fund Scheme) at the parent’s office. Some companies provide a settlement to the family upon death. If you are eligible for the PF, you will also get a monthly pension (upto the age of 25, or employment, whichever is earlier).
- Inform the life insurance company (LIC, SBI Life, etc.) of the parent’s demise. If it’s an LIC policy, do the formalities through an LIC agent and the money will be transferred directly to the nominee’s account. If you are unaware of the registered insurance policies, try to look for insurance payment receipts. If your parent didn’t keep hardcopies, try to look through their email through terms such as “80C”, “Insurance”, “Premium”, etc.
Every insurance company has a claims form on their website. The form will mention all the documents that need to be attached with the form to ensure the claim is successfully processed. You will mostly require: (1) Identity proof of the insured person (2) Death certificate (3) Original policy document (4) Medical documents (5) Bank account statement/proof of the nominee
Fill up the form and submit it to the nearest branch, but keep an extra copy of the form with yourself. Get an acknowledgement from the insurance company (they might want the extra filled copy in this case) as proof that you have submitted all the required documents alongwith the form. Get the acknowledgement* sealed with the company stamp, and signed by the proper official. Verify the insurance amount that you will be receiving and ask for calculations, if needed. If branch managers are unhelpful, you can ask customer service reps over a call.
- Changing the ownership/closing bank account: Download the form from the bank’s website/obtain the form from the branch. Keep two copies of the form with you and submit one of the two copies along with all necessary documents. Ask for an acknowledgement*. (Steps are similar to that of the insurance company). Ask for the bank statement of that account for the past 1-2 years, in case you have to look up transactions in the future. Things are a bit complicated if there is a loan on that account, or its an HUF (Hindu Undivided Family) account. In that case, ask for additional help from the bank.
- *Acknowledgement can be received through Registered Post with acknowledgement due. Essentially, if you send in your documents through a registered post, the bank/insurance company receiving it will need to provide an acknowledgement of receipt to the post delivery person.
- If you find any statements from NSDL on your parent’s email, it is possible that they had a demat account/stock holdings there. You will need to talk to the depository participant (DP) mentioned there to claim the amount.
- Changing the ownership of a car is important because the insurance is annulled if the owner of the car passes away. In that case, it will need to be reinsured.
- Change the ownership of the house (Mutation of Property), electricity connection, gas/LPG connection, phone connection, etc.
- Digitally scan every piece of paperwork required throughout this process, even the forms before submission. Avoid submitting original documents unless required for verification purposes. If submitted, please follow up and ensure that they are duly returned to you.
- Keep the deceased’s mobile no. active until all these processes are complete.
Mental health support & Financial support
- Be a cynic. Oftentimes, many relatives and extended family members take advantage of the deceased’s family in times of distress. Usually we know who they are. Don’t allow anyone else, other than well-meaning immediate family to the deceased’s personal belongings, financials, etc. If you can’t identify who is well-meaning or not, don’t allow anyone access.
- Don’t be forced to invest the payouts by other people. Until you gain enough financial knowledge, and will, don’t commit to or sign anything if you don’t understand what it says. Applies to everything, throughout your life. It’s okay to appear “stupid” in such cases. Better safe than sorry.
- If you are having immediate financial difficulty, please enquire about pensions/welfare schemes from the state govt. Eg. Widow’s pension, laal card, etc. Reach out to city/state NGOs. Post on social media, reach out to neighbours/friends for temporary funds.
- Reach out to supportive friends and family. The grief of losing someone can be overwhelming and it is best to not isolate yourself, if possible. Post on Reddit, reach out to anonymous Redditors, if that’s what it takes. If you find yourself without support and are facing suicidal thoughts, try to verbally talk to someone from outside the family. List of NGOs below. Please talk to them and ask for advice with whatever you’re struggling with.
- Your life is not over. It is definitely not the norm and it is unimaginably difficult to lose your parent so early but most parents dedicate their lives to build their children’s. Don’t forego it all when you lose them. Try to continue with your education to the best of your ability and find employment as soon as you get your degree.
List of NGOs on suicide watch, and those helping children
- Kiran Mental Health Rehabilitation Helpline: 1800-599-0019
- Aasra (Mumbai): 91 9820466726 (http://www.aasra.info/helpline.html)
- I Call (Mumbai): 022 25521111 (Monday to Saturday, 8 am to 10 pm) (https://icallhelpline.org)
- Roshni Counselling Centre (Telengana): 040-66202000 / 040-66661117 (9 am to 11 pm)
- Sneha Suicide Prevention (Tamil Nadu): 044-24640059
- Protsahan: 91 9711961675
- ‘Samvaad’ by Project Mumbai (Marathi, Hindi, and English): 18001024040 (8 am – 8 pm) (Also offers support for elderly well-being)
- Save the Children India: 1098 (Childline)
- Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation: 1800-102-7222
While some are located in specific cities, they will take calls from all over India.