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What to do in case of death

Falecimento de um ente próximo Aspectos importantes a considerar - C1 Broker - Seguros em Portugal

Receiving the news of the death of a loved one is something that nobody wants. In addition to the sadness and the period of mourning, you have to deal with a series of bureaucratic formalities linked to the death.

 

Following the guidelines of the Ministry of Justice’s Death Space Guide, it is important to observe certain deadlines that can vary, depending on the situation, between one week and two months after the death. Initially, it is essential to:

  • Contact a funeral parlour;
  • Obtain the death certificate;
  • Justify absences from work or school.

 

Contacting the funeral parlour

When contacting the funeral parlour, it is important to obtain information about the services available, costs and procedures to follow. The agency can help organise the wake, religious services and funeral, obtain the death certificate, declare the death within the established timeframe, issue a declaration of attendance at the funeral to justify absences from work or school and request state support, if necessary, on behalf of the beneficiary.

 

Death certificate

The death certificate is a document that confirms the death of a person and is issued by a doctor or authorised institution, depending on the circumstances of the death.

  • If the death occurs at home, it is necessary to contact the emergency medical number 112 to obtain the certificate.
  • In hospitals or nursing homes, the institution usually issues the certificate.
  • In cases of death by accident, crime or in unknown circumstances, it is essential to contact the police (PSP or GNR) for the necessary documentation.

 

Justification of absences due to the death of a family member

When a relative dies, the law grants a period of mourning of 2 or 5 days, depending on the degree of kinship, which must be continuous from the first day of absence. To justify absences, you must present the attendance declaration provided by the funeral parlour, indicating the date of the funeral and the degree of kinship with the deceased.

For example:

  • 2-day bereavement is allocated to: grandchildren, grandparents, siblings, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, among others, while
  • 5 days’ mourning is for spouses, parents and parents-in-law.

A recent change in the law increased the mourning period to 20 days in exceptional cases, such as the loss of children. Once you have obtained the medical certificate of death, you can proceed to declare it by presenting the necessary documents at places such as registry offices, Citizen Shops or the Portuguese Consulate.

 

 

Notifying the bank of the death of a family member

It is necessary to inform the bank of the death of the bank account holder. Instructions for this procedure can be found on the Banco de Portugal website.

“The respective heirs can access the accounts, as long as they can prove the ties. To do this, they have to present the death certificate and the authorisation of heirs. They also have to prove that the stamp duty on the transfer of the deposits has been paid. If there is an exemption, they must prove that the obligation to declare the transfer has been fulfilled at the tax office.

 

Reporting assets to the AT

If the deceased had property, it is important to register it and notify the Tax and Customs Authority via the person responsible for the inheritance. This process must be completed within three months of the end of the month in which the death occurred.

 

 

Death of a relative: what documents are needed?

  • Copy of the death certificate;
  • Citizen’s card or equivalent for the deceased and the head of the couple;
  • Full name and tax number of the other heirs;
  • Will or deed of gift or certificate of renunciation or repudiation of inheritance or legacy (if any);
  • Finally, a list of the assets that form part of the estate and their value (list of assets).

 

Death of a relative: which assets count towards the inheritance?

  • Bank accounts;
  • Property;
  • Furniture
  • Vehicles;
  • Retirement savings plans;
  • Life insurance
  • Shares and savings certificates;
  • Investment funds;
  • Finally, precious goods (gold, silver, precious stones, etc.);

 

Associated costs

Generally, informing the Tax and Customs Authority doesn’t involve any costs. However, stamp duty may be levied, which is 10 per cent on inherited assets. However, there are two exceptions: if you are a close relative of the deceased (such as spouse, children, grandchildren, parents) or if the amount of tax is equal to or less than 10 euros.

 

What does the figure of the head of the couple consist of?

The cabeça de casal is the person responsible for administering an inheritance, notifying the tax office of the death and informing the heirs. Normally, the spouse is designated as the head of the couple if they are an heir. Determination of the head of the couple follows the order established in Article 2080 of Decree-Law 47344, which contemplates three scenarios:

  • The next of kin in rank among the legal heirs is designated as the head of the couple.
  • For legal heirs of the same rank or testamentary heirs, priority is given to those who lived with the deceased for at least one year before their death.
  • In equal situations, the eldest heir assumes this position.

 

How to proceed with the authorisation of heirs?

When movable or immovable property is involved, it is essential to carry out the authorisation of heirs in order to:

  • Legally identify the heirs;
  • Register the inherited assets in the name of all the heirs;
  • Distribute the assets among the heirs. This document can be requested at any time and is necessary to access, for example, the deceased person’s bank accounts. It is usually the head of the couple who requests the authorisation of heirs. The minimum cost of this process is 150 euros, depending on the type of authorisation, the number of heirs and the assets to be identified.

 

What types of authorisation are there?

There are three categories of authorisation of heirs, each with different costs based on the complexity of the process:

  • Simple authorisation of heirs;
  • Probate of heirs with registration of the estate’s assets;
  • Probate of heirs with registration of the estate’s assets and division of assets. In summary, the authorisation of heirs is a document that identifies the heirs of the deceased. Registering the assets of the estate lists all the assets to be inherited, whether they are immovable, movable or shareholdings. In addition, it is possible to share out the assets between the heirs, defining who will receive which assets. The choice of the type of authorisation depends on the objectives and needs of the heirs, as well as the documents required. For example, in order to access the bank accounts of someone who has passed away, it is necessary to carry out the authorisation of heirs.

 

Documents required:

  • A copy of the death certificate;
  • ID card or equivalent for the deceased and the head of the couple;
  • Full name and tax number of the other heirs;
  • Finally, if available, a will or deed of gift.

 

Death of a relative: what state support is available?

The state provides some support. Here are the steps you need to take in order to access and benefit from them.

 

 

Death grant

This benefit is paid in a lump sum to the relatives of the Social Security beneficiary who has died, under the following conditions:

  • Without the need to fulfil a guarantee period, in accordance with the general Social Security regime;
  • -With a guarantee period of 36 months of contributions, in accordance with the Voluntary Social Insurance scheme.

The amount of this benefit is 1,316.43 euros. To apply for it, you must fill in and submit the Death Benefit Application Form to the Social Security offices within 180 days of the date of death, along with the documents required on the form.

 

 

Reimbursement of funeral expenses

It is also possible to apply for reimbursement of funeral expenses, provided they are supported by receipts and the deceased was a beneficiary of the general Social Security scheme. However, no other family member of the deceased can be entitled to the death grant, and the applicant must present the original receipts for the funeral expenses. The maximum reimbursable amount is 1,316.43 euros. To obtain this reimbursement, you must complete and submit the Application for Reimbursement of Funeral Expenses to the Social Security offices within 90 days of the date of death registration, along with the documentation requested on the form.

 

 

Funeral allowance

This is a one-off cash benefit intended to help the applicant with funeral expenses, provided they live in Portugal. It is mainly aimed at those who are not covered by a compulsory social protection scheme that grants a death grant. The fixed amount of this support is 219.96 euros. To receive it, you need to fill in and submit the corresponding form to the Social Security offices within 6 months of the first day of the month following the death, along with the documents requested on the form.

 

 

Widow’s pension

This widow’s pension is a monthly allowance available to surviving spouses of social pension beneficiaries. The person applying for this benefit cannot be entitled to any other pension in their own right and must meet the social pension’s means test. The value of the widow’s pension is 127.07 euros, which is equivalent to 60 per cent of the value of the social pension. To apply for this pension, you need to fill in and submit the corresponding form to the Social Security office, along with the required documentation, within a maximum of 6 months from the month following the death.

 

 

Orphan’s pension

This is a monthly allowance offered to Portuguese orphans who live in the country and are minors or dependents until they reach the age of majority and independence. The amount of the pension takes into account a part of the social pension, the number of orphans and whether there is a spouse or ex-spouse entitled to the pension. The amount varies from 42.36 euros to 169.43 euros. To apply, you need to fill in and submit the Death Benefit Application Form – Orphan’s Pension, with the necessary documentation, to the Social Security offices within 6 months of the month following the death.

 

 

Survivor’s pension

This pension is a monthly financial support granted to family members of the deceased who have lost sources of income due to the death of the beneficiary. To be eligible, on the date of death, the deceased individual must have:

  • 36 months of contributions to the General Social Security scheme;
  • 72 months of contributions under the Voluntary Social Insurance scheme. To apply for this assistance, you must complete and submit the Death Benefit Application Form to the Social Security services, within a maximum of 6 months from the date of the beneficiary’s death.

 

ADSE beneficiaries

If the deceased was an ADSE beneficiary, it is essential to notify ADSE of the death. To do this, you will need to provide the deceased’s beneficiary number along with the death certificate. In certain situations, there may be the possibility of reimbursement of expenses, requiring the submission of receipts for the expenses and the IBAN.

As far as rights to benefit from the services are concerned, if you already enjoyed the entitlement granted by the deceased spouse, this condition remains. However, if you have never enjoyed this benefit, there is a specific deadline for making this claim, provided you fulfil the necessary requirements. For further clarification, it is advisable to contact the ADSE services directly.

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