How resourceful HR people can be — claiming 401(k), pension, payroll and other death benefits

One of the first people I sat down with just days after my Uncle died was Vicki – a woman in the HR department at my Uncle’s company.  Vicki — and the other HR staff members I spoke to at various times like Toni — was so helpful, knowledgeable and nice.

She was able to tell me immediately:

  • how much accrued vacation my Uncle had earned;
  • how much payroll had been earned since his last payroll check;
  • when exactly the last payroll check was given;
  • that it was auto-deposited into his bank account;
  • reminded me I would need a W2 from the employer come tax time;
  • my Uncle had rolled over his 401(k) — where and when;
  • what the current 401(k) had earned and how to contact TransAmerica to make our claim for my cousins — the beneficiaries;
  • that he had a life insurance policy with Liberty Mutual and how to contact them to make our claim on behalf of the beneficiaries;
  • that he had a pension from a prior job and how to contact Lockheed Martin to make our claim.

Considering no one in the family — including my cousins — knew about the 401(k) rollover, the current 401(k), or the pension; and we hadn’t yet sat down with my Uncle’s investment advisor and didn’t know what he was going to tell us this meeting turned up a lot. Oddly I never did find paperwork among my Uncle’s papers in his home regarding the 401(k), the 401(k) rollover, or the pension.  If Vicki or Toni or the HR department hadn’t known about these matters and informed me we might have never learned about at least two items which together amounted to about $15,000 — which could mean a lot to family to help pay for funeral expenses, bills and more.

After that first meeting I called Toni or Vicki on occasion with questions and to request the W2 when 2015 ended — they were always helpful and thoroughly answered my questions.

Without the ‘roadmap’ Vicki gave me about many benefits my cousins were entitled to I might have been on a wild goose chase for possibly weeks.  Thank you!



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