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Sunday, August 29, 2010

What federal benefits are available to the family of a deceased person?

An executor should maximize the value of the estate he or she is working on by applying for all federal government benefits that are available. Family members, with or without the help of the executor, may want to apply for other benefits that are available to them. Here is a list of benefits available from the Canadian government. Not every estate is eligible for every type of benefit, as that will depend on the circumstances of each estate:

1. CPP Death Benefit. A one-time, lump-sum payment of up to $2,500. Paid in order of priority to the estate, or the person paying for the funeral, or the spouse, or the next of kin. Click here for more info.

2. Survivor Allowance. A monthly benefit for a low income spouse between the ages of 60 and 64. Click the link under #1 for more information about eligibility and amounts.

3. Survivor Benefit. A monthly pension that can be paid either to a legal/common law spouse, or the deceased's children under 18, or children between 18 and 25 who are in school. Click here for more information.

4. Veteran's Affairs Death Benefit. Lump sum of up to $267,000 paid to the spouse or children of a Canadian Forces member who died in service or of injuries sustained in service. Click here for more info.

5. Last Post Fund. This non-profit program provides funeral, burial and a military gravemarker for the family of a Canadian Forces who died in service. Click here for more info.

6. International Survivor Benefit. If a deceased person worked or lived in another country, his or her estate might be entitled to a death benefit from that country. To find out more (you can select the country from a drop-down list) click here.

Most funeral homes give their customers the forms to apply for the CPP Death Benefit, but most do not provide the forms for the other benefits. Using the links I've provided, you will be able to download forms. If you don't want to do that, you can go into any federal government service office and pick one up.

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