Notify the Social Security Administration

The first notification you should likely make in your executor role is to the Social Security Administration  at 1-800-772-1213. This is because many decedents have benefits they receive that need to stop immediately. If you delay and a benefit is paid after death, the estate must refund the payment. This is usually done by the Social Security Administration withdrawing the payment from the decedent’s bank account directly. It is much easier to stop payments early than go through the hassle of paying the money back later. You can learn more at

You can make the notification by phone or in person. Some say it is easier to do in person, others say they would rather do it by phone so they can work on other tasks while on hold. It is up to you how to proceed. Keep in mind that they might require a copy of the death certificate, so be sure to bring one if you go in person.

Don’t be surprised, though, if you talk to a representative from the Social Security Administration and they already know about the death. For example, it is the practice of many funeral directors to notify the Social Security Administration of the death to help prevent future fraud.