What to do after a death

Losing a family member can be one of life's most difficult times, and there are many important decisions to make. TIAA can help.


Notify us of a death



Weekdays, 8 a.m. − 7 p.m. (ET)

Let's begin

The first few months

Notify us of a person's death

This helps protect their account(s) from unauthorized access and allows you to begin distributing assets as intended.

Weekdays, 8 a.m. − 7 p.m. (ET)


Gather important information

Refer to the checklist below for the important information you'll need to share with us.

Know your options

Assets left to you and others may provide the security you need for the future. Consider your options before taking the next steps.

Your checklist

Here's what we'll need from you

You may be asked to provide some basic information when you call. Have the following handy:

  • The account owner's name and address
  • Date of death
  • Beneficiary info (contact info for spouse and/or executor info)

Commonly asked questions for beneficiaries

The executor/personal representative is the person appointed in the will to administer the estate of someone who has died. The executor/personal representative must ensure that the person’s desires expressed in the will are carried out. Practical responsibilities include gathering the assets of the estate, obtaining information in regard to all beneficiaries named in the will and any other potential heirs, collecting and arranging for payment of debts of the estate, ensuring that estate taxes are calculated, forms are filed and tax payments are made.

The term probate refers to the entire process of administering the estate of a deceased person under court supervision, including when there is no will. The first step of the process is proving a will is valid and then administering the estate of the deceased according to the terms of the will. The will must be filed with the clerk of the appropriate court in the county where the deceased lived, along with a petition to have the court approve the will and appoint the executor named in the will. If the court determines the will is valid, the court then "admits" the will to probate.

A specialized court that has jurisdiction over probating wills and administering estates.

Next steps

TIAA can help

When you're ready, we can help guide you through the process of settling accounts and preparing a personalized plan—at no additional cost.

Learn more about TIAA and how we've been helping people reach their financial goals for nearly 100 years.

Weekdays, 8 a.m. − 7 p.m. (ET)