With an increase in the number of deaths during the second COVID wave, Rishabh Parakh, a Pune-based CA started helping a number of families sort out their financial and legal paperwork, enabling them to make insurance claims of the deceased.
“Recently, I had someone call me frantically from Delhi saying he had lost his brother to an accident and didn’t know how to proceed with the documentation. I guided him telephonically from Pune and helped him understand the process to withdraw money from the deceased’s mutual funds and other bank accounts. We also helped him understand how he could claim insurance and all the paperwork that was required for it,” Rishabh Parakh, a Pune-based Chartered Accountant (CA), tells The Better India.
These are difficult conversations that Rishabh has been dealing with on a regular basis.
The 40-year-old found the second wave of COVID-19 to be very overwhelming and it was during this time in March 2021, that his firm NRP Capitals which he founded around 15 years ago launched ‘Mission Care’ on WhatsApp and ‘Ask Rishabh’ on YouTube. The motto of both these initiatives was to help families in financial distress on a pro-bono basis.
Since he created his social media handles, he has received over 200 requests from people from all across the globe. “Not all are COVID related and I have come to realise that this sort of service is much needed, especially in India where financial literacy is so poor,” he adds. This service also caters to the NRI population who need help in sorting out their parent’s financial paperwork back in India.
Rishabh urges us all to use this time to get all our bank papers sorted out and also pay close attention to health, life insurance and all loan-related documents. “Doing this will help your surviving family members and will keep them away from running from pillar to post to make a claim,” says Rishabh.
He suggests the following steps, in the unfortunate circumstance of the death of a loved one.
1. Collate all documents
It is important to gather all the documents, including hardcopies of life and health insurance papers. In cases where the policy was signed online, one must have all relevant details like date on which the policy was signed, nominee details and amount of the policy, etc.
Once you have gathered all the documents, divide them into investments, assets, insurance and liabilities.
Along with this, one needs to take multiple copies of the person’s death certificate. This will need to be submitted at every stage for raising a claim. A minimum of 20 copies will be needed. The name of the deceased on the will should match the official document issued by the government.
2. Look into their bank accounts
Doing this will help the surviving member understand where the deceased was investing the money. You will be able to look at all the mutual fund deductions and redemptions, if any, that have been made by the deceased. Even all details pertaining to loan repayments and insurance premium details can be checked by looking at the bank transactions. Spend some time sifting through the bank account closely.
3. Make provisions for minor children
This will include assigning an appointee who will, in the event of death of the parents, take on the role of legal guardian for the minor child. The appointee can be either grandparents or siblings of either parent. This set-up will continue until the child attains age of majority, and is able to independently take care of themselves.
4. Follow the timelines while raising a claim
For each claim, there is a time period that one must adhere to. For example, life insurance claims of the deceased should be done within 3 to 6 months of the death of the insurer. For health insurance, you should raise a claim within 15 days. While this is not a hard and fast rule, with delays you will have to explain the reason to the insurance company.
5. Documents you must have handy
The following documents are needed while raising a claim:
- Death certificate (minimum 20 copies)
- PAN card
- Aadhaar card
- Legal heir certificate, in case there is no nomination
- Doctors report in case death occurred at a hospital.
- One must also have access to the phone of the deceased, on which the One-Time Password (OTP) might be sent across to access the various portals.
Discussing finances with either spouse or children is often a subject that is postponed and Rishabh says, “If your loved ones are not aware of the assets when you are alive, they may never get to know about them after your death. The best way to tackle this is by either keeping them in the know or by making a detailed list of all your financial assets,” says Rishabh.
Rishabh and his team of close to 30 members handle all the calls and queries regarding proper documentation. They are accessible on WhatsApp at 9130003344 or 8999866355 or on their social media handles.
(Edited by Yoshita Rao)