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10 things to do if you lose a loved one in COVID-19, suddenly

Aside from going through financial documents and paying off pending taxes, liabilities, and loans, you must also figure out your monthly expenses. The transition is difficult, but sorting out money matter is important too.

August 27, 2021 / 08:58 AM IST

The sword of a potential third COVID-19 wave is hanging over our heads. While the government and authorities are working hard to handle the situation efficiently, as an individual it is our responsibility to look after our personal and financial health!

These are quite uncertain times and we need to be prepared for our worst nightmares. Let me share a tragic incident that hit a middle-class family.

Bengaluru-based resident Sharad Mehta, 52, used to live with his wife Anjali, 50, and son Yash, 21. He worked as a General Manager in a Public Sector Company. Anjali is a homemaker and Yash is in college. In the middle of the second wave, the entire family caught COVID. Sharad passed away. Anjali and Yash recovered from COVID but this incident changed their lives forever.

The Mehta family was a typical middle-class Indian Family…Sharad was the backbone of the family, the breadwinner, and losing him was surely a great deal for the family members. Tackling this situation emotionally, mentally, physically, and financially was a task for Anjali and Yash. It was important for Anjali to get back on her feet and figure out ways for their survival, managing their monthly expenses, and so on.

These times have taught us precious lessons on how things can change swiftly, emotionally as well as financially. As big an emotional loss is when a loved one passes away- and worse, so suddenly, it is important to take stock of your money box. Here is what you need to do.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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Find the benefits from the employer

It is important that the families have communication with the deceased member’s employer. They need to check the benefits provided by the employer like employees’ provident fund, gratuity, and other benefits.

Scrutinise all the important financial documents

In most Indian families, this situation is quite prevalent that the man of the house is in charge of the financial matters while the wife and children are completely aloof about it. Find out all financial papers and documents and scrutinise them. You can appoint a financial professional to take care of the same.

Check options for replacing the Income

If the primary breadwinner passes away unexpectedly, who is going to earn now?

The family must think about the options for replacing the income or start a second line of income to take care of their monthly expenses.

In the above case, Anjali is a homemaker while her son Yash is completing his education. Thus, Anjali can think of some small business ideas (for instance, catering or something which she can do at home) that can take care of her day-to-day expenses.

Check whether the deceased had any WILL

A Will is an important document that lists down every bit of your Financial Assets & Liabilities. If yes, then go through the Will and cross-check the items listed therein.

Notify the Authorities

Notify the authorities in charge of transferring the Property Names, Asset Management Companies & Banks in case of Investments & so on. Jot down every single place where you need to notify the authorities & replace the name to avoid further nuisance.

Claim the Insurance Policies

The primary source point of investments for Indian middle-class families has been insurance policies. Many of us have bought term plans, endowment plans, and various other insurance policies from the Life Insurance Corporation of India. Check the Policy Documents and claim the insurance policies.

Check for any ongoing Loans / Liabilities

Any liability that the deceased may have taken, must be paid off immediately. In fact, many financial advisors advise writing this in the Will that before the assets get distributed, all loans, liabilities, and taxes must be paid off first.

Check if there are any ongoing Loans / Liabilities in the deceased’s name. If yes, then check whether it is insured and can the amount be waived off.

Get a hang of your monthly budget

Many of you might be aware of your monthly budget. But, things change when such a tragic incident knocks on your door. You need to cut down your expenses and figure out your source of Income.

Make Investments as per your requirement

After running the numbers, as to how much claims you might get, what is the PF Amount that will be credited into your account…make an investment plan to reach your goals. If you are looking for interest-paying options that can support your monthly expenses, you can look towards investing in debt options like Post Office Monthly Income Scheme, Company Fixed Deposit & so on.

Take adequate Medical Cover

Go through your Mediclaim Policies. Check whether you are adequately covered. If not, take an adequate medical insurance cover suitable as per your requirements.

At times, life is hard on us…but the real deal is to swim your way through! Thus, let us strive to attain financial stability while fighting the virus!
Tejal Gandhi is the CEO and Founder of Money Matters, India
first published: Aug 27, 2021 08:58 am
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