McCommons Funeral Homes and Crematory will file the Death Certificate with the county clerk and obtain a burial permit if necessary. Certified copies of the Death Certificate may be required as proof of death in settling claims. In Georgia the first copy cost $25 and additional copies cost $5 each. The Death Certificate may be required for the following: Wills, Veterans Administration, Social Security, Insurance (Each Company), Retirement (Stocks, Bonds, Ira, Pension), Real Estate, Bank Accounts, Medicare/Medicaid, or Automobile Title.
IF THERE IS A WILL, the deceased is said to have died “Testate” ...the executor must file the will with the Probate Court within the time prescribed by statute and proceed with probate and distribution of the estate. The services of an attorney are advisable.
IF THERE IS NO WILL, but there is property, the deceased is said to have died “Intestate” ... an administrator is appointed by the Probate Court, and the estate is distributed according to the State Statute of Descent and Distribution.
IN EITHER CASE, an attorney should be consulted.
Hon. LaVerne C. Ogletree
Probate Judge of Greene County
Greene County Court House
113 N. Main Street
Greensboro, GA 30642
We will assist families of eligible veterans in making Military Funeral Honors Arrangements. This may include an honor guard to fold the flag, firing team and taps. Honoring those who served allows a grateful nation to pay final tribute to veterans who, in times of war and peace, stood strong in defense of the United States of America. Honorably discharged veterans and their families may be entitled to a number of special benefits upon death. These may include a plot allowance, burial allowance, headstone, death pension, and burial flag. Since there are many different benefits and qualifications for each, it’s best to discuss your situation with your funeral director. We will assist families in filing for V.A. Burial benefits, grave markers, and a flag (if desired) to use on the casket.
THE FOLLOWING VETERANS BENEFITS SHOULD BE CHECKED:
1. Death Pension to the widow and minor children.
2. Reimbursement of a part of the funeral expenses to person who paid the bill.
3. Burial in National Cemeteries.
4. Burial Flag and Grave Markers.
5. Some States may have additional benefits. Check the local Veterans Office.
In Greensboro (Open Tuesday & 1/2 day on Friday)
Veteran’s Administration Service Office
Greene County Court House
113 N. Main Street
Greensboro, GA 30642
Veterans Service Department
855 Sunset Drive
Athens, GA 30606
PAPERS REQUIRED FOR VETERANS’ BENEFITS:
1. Itemized receipted funeral bill.
2. Veteran’s discharge papers (DD-214)
3. Certified copy of Death Certificate
4. Marriage Certificate
5. Birth Certificate of minor children.
Veteran’s life insurance claims should be made at the same office where other benefits are applied for.
Social Security claims should be filed immediately at the nearest office, as benefits may not be honored unless filed within two years after death. McCommons Funeral Home will send in form SSA-721. You need to notify the bank where the direct deposit of the deceased’s social security check was made, and the bank will fill out the proper forms to stop the next check. The Social Security Administration will explain benefits and help with claim papers without charge. The following information will be required:
1. Certified copy of the death certificate or “Statement of Death” form SSA-721.
2. Deceased’s past nine months employment record (IRS Form W-2)
3. Copy of Marriage Certificate (if married)
4. Deceased’s Social Security card or number.
5. Birth Certificate of minor children (under 18) ... and for children under 22 still in school.
6. Personal income tax returns if self-employed.
7. Proof of Age, if over 60 (Birth Certificate).
DO NOT DELAY applying because all papers are not available ... the local office may suggest other proofs that may be used.
The following benefits should be checked:
1. Lump sum death payment to the surviving spouse or minor or disabled children.
2. Life pension to widow over 60.
3. Pension to widowed mother with dependent children.
4. Pension to minor children of deceased.
If there is no widow or children, pension may be payable to the surviving dependent parent. If a widow 60 to 64 years old is receiving disability payments based on her own earnings, it may be possible to secure benefits based on her husband’s earnings. Ask about hospital and medical insurance plans and check on Medicare.
Athens Social Security Office
355 E. Hancock Avenue
Athens, GA 30601
Bring insurance policies with you to the funeral home. We will provide all claim forms and fill them out free of charge for you. You will need a Death Certificate for each different insurance company. ALL policies (even those that have lapsed) should be examined, seeking any extended coverage. All policies on the lives of the survivors should be examined to determine changes in beneficiaries.
- Stocks, Bonds, IRAs, Pension
Stocks - Stocks in the deceased’s sole name require probate action. Stocks owned jointly may be transferred to the surviving owner by presentation of a certified copy of the Death Certificate to each company in which stock is jointly owned. A broker or banker can assist you. Federal and state tax questions are best answered by an attorney or tax advisor.
Bonds - A SINGLE OWNERSHIP BOND is part of the estate and will be paid or re-issued to a qualified person. BENEFICIARY (one owner, payable on death to a beneficiary). The bond becomes property of the beneficiary. If the beneficiary dies first, no action is required unless a new beneficiary or co-owner is added. Proof of death is required for redemption or re-issue. CO-OWNERSHIP (two names on the bond). The survivor becomes the owner; a beneficiary or co-owner may be added. An attorney or banker should be consulted.
INDIVIDUAL RETIREMENT ACCOUNT (IRA) - Under IRS regulations, an IRA may be established through a bank, insurance company or broker. At death any amount in the account will be paid to the beneficiaries. Consult your attorney, insurance agent, banker or broker.
The services of an attorney are advisable in ALL real estate matters. Real estate owned jointly by husband and wife is automatically transferred to the survivor, but a certified copy of the Death Certificate should be filed with county authorities in connection with the real estate deed. Real estate owned solely by the deceased or as a tenant in common, or jointly with someone other than husband or wife, must be probated whether or not there is a will. Federal and state estate and gift taxes should be thoroughly researched by an attorney.
The survivor of joint bank accounts can usually withdraw from the account without legal procedure. In large estates there may be federal and state taxes requiring releases from government officials. Bank accounts in the sole name of the deceased will usually require probate action. For small accounts, some banks have forms that permit payment of the balance toward funeral expenses if no other assets require probate. An attorney or bank will answer specific questions.
Safety Deposit Box
Depending on your bank’s policies a safety deposit box held jointly or in the deceased’s sole name, may be sealed until a county, state or bank official can take inventory. The bank must know the date of death, interest of person making inquiry, whether the key is available and whether the box was rented in the deceased’s sole name or jointly with others.
If the deceased was sole owner of a car or trailer, it is part of the estate. Transfer of title information can be obtained from an attorney or the Tax Commissioner’s Office.
Candace T. Lawson
Tax Commissioner of Greene County
1034 Silver Drive
Greensboro, GA 30642
Estate and Gift Taxes
If the assets left by the deceased exceed certain minimums, the estate may be subject to Federal and/or State Inheritance taxes. An attorney will answer specific questions.
Bring your cemetery deed or proof of lot ownership to the funeral home with you. This will assist in marking the grave for the deceased. If the cemetery space is already marked with a tombstone it may not be necessary to bring the deed. Also bring the name and number of the Cemetery caretaker who can assist us in marking the grave.
Cemetery Markers and Related Items
If you need to purchase a cemetery marker, coping, gravel, any cemetery related merchandise or have the death date cut on a stone, we will be glad to get you in touch with our representative. We also have sources for lot cleaning and sandblasting. Though most any style cemetery marker is allowed in some cemeteries, there may be restrictions. For instance, some cemeteries that are perpetual care require flat markers because it makes mowing much easier. Most markers are made of granite, marble or bronze and vary in price depending on their size and amount of engraving. It’s important to note that of all the final arrangement decisions that need to be made, this is one that can be postponed. McCommons Funeral Home can help you in the selection of a monument that is right for your family.
Clothes for the deceased should be brought to the funeral home. This may include what ever you want the deceased to wear: shirt/blouse, pants, suit, dress and all underclothes (underwear, t-shirt, brazier, hose, slip, socks). Glasses, jewelry and dentures should be brought also. Shoes can be used but are not required. We have a selection of suits and dresses at the funeral home for you to choose from if necessary.
The casket blanket and family floral arrangements should be ordered as soon as possible. This will allow the florist plenty of time to order flowers.
Any items that you would like to display at the visitation or service should be brought to the funeral home. These include pictures, hobby items or any meaningful tribute.
Few events in our lives are as painful as the death of a loved one. Some of those who grieve are even uncertain as to whether or not they will survive this overwhelming loss. Grief is an unwanted journey that awaits those of us who are left behind. Our family and staff are committed to ensuring that those facing the journey of grief don’t have to face it alone. McCommons Funeral Homes and Crematory has been actively involved in providing "After Care" services to grieving families throughout our community.